A Very Confetti Birthday

I have a 4 year old. Repeat. I have a 4 year old! There is a child in my house who is potty trained, can speak in full sentences, knows how to operate light machinery and can recite the planets to me in order. 4 years old!

Hitting this milestone was a cause for celebration. With August sharing his birthday with an epic holiday (cough Valentine’s Day cough) we knew we’d have to plan early. So way back in December I asked August, “What kind of birthday would you like?” I was expecting an answer along the lines of dinosaurs, legos, robots, animals or space. But not August. He’s always thinking a bit outside the box and of that I’m always proud. “Confetti” he replied. Really? I had to ask him a second time to make sure I understood. “Confetti?” He nodded yes. Alright then! Confetti it would be!

As soon as he confirmed his vision I started collecting goodies for the party. There were tons of New Year’s Eve decorations on store shelves and lots of sparkly colorful knick knacks that would lend themselves to our little celebration. I already have an arsenal of party decor that I reuse from event to event – so that was on the docket too. My kitchen cabinets are loaded with colorful cake stands, bright plates, customizable message banners, fun paper straws and colorful napkins. Perfect! I also knew I had a sizable stack of construction paper that I could tap for a homemade element. I ended up cutting out hundreds of confetti circles and sewing through them with my machine. Voila! Instant party decor.

When planning food for kid parties handhelds are always best. The goal is to keep things nice and simple so the kids can self serve, leaving the adults to have a chance to connect.  Trader Joe’s is always my go-to for party food. The prices are great, the products are delicious AND there are no creepy chemicals lurking about. That’s right! No synthetic additives, gmos or high fructose nonsense.Even the color additives are natural. I’ll take beet and carrot derived hues over red 40 any day! The final party spread included organic low-sugar juice for the kids, coffee, sparkling water and hard cider for the adults, fresh jumbo pretzels, cheese sticks and wheels, cheddar popcorn, peanut butter banana shish kabobs (thanks Pinterest!), grapes, a vegan veggie platter, and of course, cake. The best part? The cake, also from Trader Joes, was covered in confetti sprinkles. Love!

So there you have it. Our take on a very confetti birthday. Happy birthday little August!

Green Living: Eating Clean On a Budget

Eating clean – it’s the best and most clear cut way to describe what it means to limit your intake of pesticides. There seems to be an ongoing debate in mainstream media whether eating organic food actually makes a difference. A highly referenced 2012 Stanford study claims that there are no obvious health benefits to eating produce labelled organic. Can that really be so? Has history not taught us that ingesting insecticides, among other chemicals, causes increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other health issues?

hunter hills csa beets

Beautiful beets grown on a friend’s “beyond organic” farm in rural Pennsylvania.

If you’re anything like me you too are skeptical of recent headlines counterclaiming the benefits of eating organic. If you’re also like me, you know that choosing the big O also means paying significantly more for your fresh greens and fruits. So what’s a budget conscious health savvy vegetarian to do?!

Let me introduce you to the saving grace of shopping organic: The dirty dozen and clean fifteen. If you’re anything beyond a green living novice, these two lists are probably already part of your shopping arsenal. But if they’re not – be ready to take screenshots of the graphic below.

So what are these lists? Each year the EWG, aka Environmental Working Group, puts out a list of the 12 crops that have tested highest on the pesticide scale, as well as the 15 that are lowest. Continue reading

I’m Back!

It’s been over 6 months since I published my last post and sooooo much has happened since then.

Since August’s birth in early 2015 I’ve found it difficult to get back into the swing of blogging. Learning how to be a mama, struggling with nursing, perfecting the art of changing diapers, all while working full time, kept me busy and away from writing. But that’s all about to change! Having entered a new chapter of my life, one complete with my fur babies and a bouncing off the walls toddler, I want to get back into sharing the highs and lows of living a conscious lifestyle in the city.

me and august

Life has a way of catching us off guard. Having moved into a new apartment in the spring, and then unexpectedly transitioning to becoming a single parent, this last season has had its fair share of trials. But God is good. Life is good. And I’m keeping my chin up! I’ll share more about what’s happening in my marriage some other time. For now I’m just here to say, “Hello! I’m back!” Can’t wait to share with you what I’m working on, things I’m dreaming about, and all the goofy little things in between.

 

Hello – we’re Shiny Happy People!

After months of anticipation Shiny Happy People has arrived!

We’ve been busy sketching, printing, sewing and branding these past few months and are ready for the big reveal! Bringing you modern, fresh and playful designs, Shiny Happy People creates sustainable, handmade goodies that aim to delight and inspire. Organic cottons, whimsical prints, happy hues – what more could you ask for?!

Our new Etsy page is live so hop on over to get first dibs on our new goodies. We’ve also updated the website to tell you all you need to know about our exciting new venture. We stay, explore and get yo know us. Let the adventure begin!

Events: Pop-Up Shop

pop up shop

Just when we thought all the fun was over – we’ve decided to host one last event to bid Pierogi Picnic adieu – a pop-up shop!

Join us on Saturday, August 23rd from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Chicago’s famed Nettelhorst French Market, just north of Belmont off Broadway and Melrose. We will be selling all of my remaining eco-friendly creations at steep discounts. Plus – we’ll have a buy two get one free special running all day!

Come on out to see us to help the brand with a proper send-off. See you there!

Pierogi Picnic’s Fond Farewell

This is it! The Pierogi Picnic Etsy shop has officially closed as of 9pm this evening. Let the record show that August 2nd, 2015 is a day that now stands in history! At least in my books. Though it’s a bittersweet moment, there’s so much to celebrate when looking back at these last seven years of sustainable design.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIt all began with a skirt. I created a simple asymmetrical pencil skirt using a thrifted cotton t-shirt. Every which way I went I would receive compliments, along with inquiries on how people could get their hands on one of their own. That’s what inspired me to create an affordable line of retro, comfy, eco-friendly clothing. I had also recently discovered the growing handmade movement, and with encouragement from my husband, launched my own Etsy shop in the fall of 2008.

After debuting my store I continued to create truly one-of-a-kind clothing items made from recycled materials. Scouring Chicago’s thrift stores high and wide, I was collecting pre-loved fabrics and vintage textiles to create a unique line of casual and comfy clothing. Within a couple of months I began to add other designs. T-shirt dresses, camisole gowns, restructured tanks, vintage finds and more! It was in that year that I came up with some of my most popular designs, included the Resurrected Tee skirt, Revamped Flower headbands, Darling Dresses and No Sweat tunics. They were a hit! And so Pierogi Picnic took off!

Pierogi Picnic post-branding

Continue reading

Events & Sales: Only 2 more weeks!

store closing

I can’t believe it’s almost here! August 1st is just around the corner and it signals the closing of the Pierogi Picnic Etsy shop. Insane!

If you haven’t already, be sure to take advantage of our mega sale where I’m knocking 50% off all remaining items. All you need to do is use coupon code “solongfarewell2015” during checkout and the discount will come off your final total.

You only have 15 more days to take advantage of this awesome offer – so don’t delay! Scoop up the last of your favorite handmade eco-friendly creations today!