Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Conflict-free diamond jewelry

I'm really surprised by both the number and the type of responses I get for my desire for an ecologically- and socially-responsible ring. They've ranged from "that's so cool!" to "this is your insurance from your husband! You should get something that you can always sell if you need money!"

I mean, wedding rings are a personal decision, so I was surprised to hear so many people weighing in. I'm still doing research on platinum, but it looks like metals mining is a messy business. Among the controversies out there are a Canadian mining firm that's trying to displace farmers in Nigeria to mine platinum. Thankfully, more and more organizations are springing up to ensure that metals for jewelry come from recycled sources, or are mined with sensitivity to the local community, including rehabilitating the environment afterwards.

So, if it is diamonds that you must have, here's another resource:
Brilliant Earth - fair trade comes to jewelry.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

World Explorers

I found this cool website, World66. You can create a map that shows all the places you've been!

Ok, to be honest, my real visited map isn't that exciting. But between Neil and me (mostly Neil), we've visited 47 countries! (21% of the world.)

Here's my real map:

create your own visited country map

Only 13 countries. But I hope to add two more to the list after our honeymoon. We're hoping to visit New Zealand and Fiji.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It never rains, it pours

I was felled Tuesday by something funky I ate Monday night. Then, lots of meetings Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And upcoming: besides work, there's wedding planning and moving (several times) before the wedding. Ai ya!

Part of me is sad to move, because even though my apartment is old and showing its age, I've lived here for over two years. It's been cozy living with Angela, and she's always said that my room (her previous room) must have good feng shui, because we both met our respective husband/fiance while living there. And of course, I'll miss being a five minute walk from my office. But, I've also heard that it's important to create your own space as a couple, and by moving, we will do just that...unless, of course, you are J. Lo and you hire one of the Fab Five to redo Marc Anthony's bachelor mansion.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What's Up in Taiwan

Continuing the podcast theme, if you want to know what's up in Taiwan, check out this aptly titled podcast: What's Up in Taiwan.

The latest podcast is on the multi-talented husband-and-wife team Tomer and Jun Feldman, and their newly created Sababa Pita Bar. Neil and I are going to their grand opening tonight...mmmm....free pitas...

Ritmo Latino

I must mention how much I love this podcast. All of the podcasts except one have been winners, in my opinion, and they are the only podcasts I save on my iPod Mini after I've listened to them, which says a lot. There's a nice mix of anything that's Latin, from salsa to electronic to bossa nova and more!

Plus, reading the show's history made me laugh. Like Neil Hohmann before he started the show, I have only a few CDs and don't really know artists' names, so listening to this show gives me an opportunity to broaden my horizons. You can also check out the Ritmo Latino MySpace page, which is the cleanest one I've seen. All the other ones confuse me and give me a headache. I guess it's a sign that I'm aging. I'm just not hip anymore.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

With this ring, I thee wed

According to The Knot, I should be well on my way looking for wedding bands. And, what is a traditional Western wedding ceremony without the wedding bands? However, after reading in the National Resources Defence Council's June 2005 issue of This Green Life about dirty gold, I couldn't consciouly want a traditional wedding band. According to the No Dirty Gold website:

Gold mining is a dirty industry: it can displace communities, contaminate drinking water, hurt workers, and destroy pristine environments.

It seems like the problems with gold apply to other metal mining operations as well, so that also rules out platinum. What to do? The NRDC and other green wedding planning sites recommend:

  • buying vintage
  • have existing jewelry that you have and no longer wear refashioned
  • buying recycled gold from online retailer Green Karat or Sumiche Jewelry. Dear Abi recently sent me a link to another online retailer, Cred Jewelry (this one is in the UK).

  • Of course, these ecologically- and socially-responsible rings look just as beautiful as conventional rings. According to the New York Times, buying from Chicago-based Leber Jeweler's Earthwise line is another option. And most of Tiffany's gold is mined without using cyanide.

    And then, there are...wooden rings! I immediately fell in love with these rings from Touchwood Rings:

    A simple search on for "wooden wedding rings" on Google will yield lots of options, including:

    I also love the rings at Tropical Grains, but I need to do research to see if titanium is okay.

    There's also this directory from the International Commitment Ceremonies Registrar. It's nice to know there are so many choices for ethical rings.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    Billion Dollar Brows

    So I've spent the past week in L.A. visiting my parents and attending my high school's 10-year reunion (gasp!). Before the trip, I thought to myself that I would have plenty of time to get to all those items on my to-do list, including ones for the wedding, because I'm on vacation. Not! Between jet lag and driving all over L.A. finding things to meeting friends and family, I haven't gotten much sleep at all. At least I've managed to catch up on listening to a bunch of podcasts while driving—can you believe over 8 hours of driving programming over the course of 2 days?

    Anyways, I digress. I was so lucky to find in my inbox Tuesday morning a Daily Candy feature on Billion Dollar Brows. I find it helpful to go to a professional once in awhile, since sometimes one loses perspective when going the DIY route...and you end up with no brows.:(

    It just so happens that the salon is within walking distance of Rodeo Drive, where my good friends Kuo and Melissa took me to so that I could gawk in appropriately touristy fashion. I was a bit disconcerted to hear BDB was in their first full day of business (could I have been their only customer?), but the service was great. After some waxing and tweezing action, I had defined, natural-looking eyebrows. They say your eyes are the windows to your soul, and now I have great window treatments to go with them. :D

    For all the ladies in L.A. (and guys with unibrows, for that matter), you can now have browsy goodness.

    Billion Dollar Brows, 9453 Charleville Boulevard, South Beverly Hills (310-270-4650). $35 for the first visit; $30 thereafter.