1. Do Something (instead of buying something).
Have dinner with friends or a loved one at your favorite restaurant that focuses on local, organic and/or seasonal ingredients. In DC that means Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle, Farmer's Fishers Bakers on the Georgetown Waterfront, Palena or Ripple in Cleveland Park (I hear Ripple is like a little Portlandia in DC bc the staff knows so much about each ingredient), or Big Bear Cafe in Capitol Hill.
You could also try out the new organic spa in Alexandria, (Nusta Spa), or patronize your local playhouse or dance company.
2. Sustainable Sexytime
If you have big, romantic plans for the weekend, execute them in sustainable style by choosing made in the USA, organic or fair trade underthings and sleepwear. Check out made in the USA brands like Only Hearts or Hanky Panky at your local department store, or go upscale with handmade Ari Dein from New York. A while ago, I put together a shop-able post on eco-friendly lingerie and sleepwear, should you want to start there.
3. Fair Trade Chocolates
The cocoa trade is an industry with a horrible human rights record, and unfortunately, it's all of the big name companies you know who are still "working on" cleaning up their acts. I play it safe by looking for both a fair trade and an organic label on my chocolates, and it pays off in both karma and taste! A few of my faves are Theo chocolates, Salazar (the sea salt and coffee bar will change your life), Divine Chocolates and Green & Blacks, all available at Whole Foods and many other upscale grocers. You can also order plenty of fair trade chocolates and candies via Amazon.com.
4. Eco-friendly Greeting Cards
With the incredible variety of handmade cards printed on recycled stock available not just from Etsy but from your local stationary store, there's no reason to purchase cheap cards made in China. See my Valentine's Day Pinterest Board for a few places to start on Etsy, and when in a physical store, just turn over the card to see where it's made and what it's made of, or better yet, ask an associate to point you towards the cards that are made in the USA or printed on recycled paper. Just asking the question is a gentle way of being a mini-eco-activist.
5. Ethical Jewelry
If you're going to bring the bling for your lady or manfriend this Vday, there are many companies to choose from in a variety of price points that can provide you with ethically made jewelry. For me, 100% ethical means recycled metals that are made in countries with strong labor rights, such as the USA or Europe, or vintage pieces that have zero impact.
This represents a change in my "policy" here at My Fair Vanity. Up until now, I've said that "made in the USA" is enough. However, after learning more about how gold mining works, who is involved, and what it does to communities, I don't think I can advocate using metals that are not recycled. To learn more about the kind of damage that mining can bring to towns, cities and families, you can watch this short video about a little girl named Senna who comes from La Rinconada, a mining town in Peru, read this report by Human Rights Watch on mining in Tanzania, or check out the No Dirty Gold campaign. You can even pledge not to tarnish your love this Valentine's Day should you be so inclined.
Tune in later this week for an expanded report on some of my favorite ethical jewelry vendors who are using vintage, recycled and other sustainable materials. Until then, ask your local jeweler if they carry lines that participate in the No Dirty Gold campaign. A few to start with are Monique Pean, Alberto Parada, and Brilliant Earth, but more to come!
Shop ethical Valentine's Day alternatives below
and on my VDay Pinterest Board :)