let’s talk carbon offsets

Note: ecological nightmare + purchasing carbon offsets does not equal the best you can do

With that out of the way I thought I would add my two cents about purchasing carbon offsets to make a wedding move towards a carbon nuetral event. Click here to read the Wikipedia article about Carbon Offsets. The basic jist is that carbon is released into the atmosphere via carbon dioxide and various gases as a bi-product of our biology as well as our industrial and technological waste. These gases are linked towards many global threats such as reduced ozone, increased surface temperatures, etc. Various companies have created ways to theoretically reduce the impact of the carbon you contribute to the world by offering “credits” in the form of reforestation projects, alternative technology implementation, etc. The key word is theoretically because these offsets are meant to do something but the action of the carbon release still occurs.

We contribute to carbon release all the freakin time especially in first world nations. You can do an internet search to find generators that figure out your ecological footprint to let you know how the way you live your life impacts the Earth and how many planets we would need if everyone on ours lived a life the way you do. However weddings seem to be a bit taboo when it comes to this subject. Even the sanest, most well intentioned couple can throw common sense out of the window to achieve a dream wedding. I am even guilty of this. My fiance and I are planning our wedding in Costa Rica for goodness sake. Most of the guests are flying from the United States. They would have to have traveled all over the place anyway, but we are guilty of making the destination a tropical get-away in Central America. Why didn’t we choose Montana, Tennessee, or Redwood Country? Simply because we (as usually sane people) like Costa Rica a whole hell of a lot. We had to struggle with the decision of trading in better eco-sense for a loving experience with a few of the closest people in our circles on a 5-day trip.

We are getting a lot of praise for our eco-conscious efforts beyond the travel. We are using organic products locally produced around our destination. Socially we are having the wedding party and guests spend one day volunteering with a local project benefitting some of the few remaining indigenous folks in the country. We are having guests also bring down wish list supplies for this organization (The Bridge). The vendors we are using are locals and our financial contributions will help their family-run businesses. It is a little cheeky when people comment on how good we are because in truth we are still bastards in the whole low-impact scheme of things.

So how do we sleep at night? We justly proclaim we are doing the best we can. And we are contributing a donation to a LaDanta Salvaje, a primary forest reserve project. The money we are contributing will go towards the maintenance of this reserve. The land was purchased but it needs to be maintained against animal and plant poachers, it is used for outreach purposes, etc. Our money will not go towards planting 250 new trees (where in reality a fraction will grow to sequester a sizeable amount of carbon). It will not go towards altering a huge area that is reflecting heat to absorbing heat and thus altering a landscape-level process. We know where our money is going. It has FONAFINO accredidation and is trustworthy non-government operation that we have faith in.

The three issues I want to point out with wedding carbon offsets are:
1. Reduce your carbon impact from the start by getting local products and reducing the travel and emissions related to your wedding as much as you feel comfortable with.

2. Use carbon-offsets as a tool to aid in your planning but realize that money does not wash away the carbon emissions you helped create.

3. Research the company you are buying your offsets from. They are companies that need to profit somewhere and all are not at the same level of ethics. Also learn how the money will be used because even though most companies have the best intentions, their end-product may not align with your values.

Like I stated, we are bastards for all of the travel emissions we are helping to generate, but we are doing the best we can. Good night.

P. S. Tomorrow night I will still have some guilt (the LaDanta shares don’t offset that) but I will be better reconciled because this once in a lifetime experience we are sharing with our far-flung loved ones will mean a lot to us in the end.

Pin-Up Boudoir Pics

I have been thinking of doing boudoir pics for sometime. I think it would be nice to keep a record of my little body as it tightens up in preparation for the wedding. It can be something to scare my grandchildren with. And they can be a fun project to put in a book for my fiance.

However I get bored looking at a lot of boudoir pictures. I play with my camera a lot and consider getting into the boudoir picture industry every so often. My favorite artist that originally inspired me was Lone from Lolo’s Boudoir. I guess I love her kitsch and that she does a lot of outdoor stuff. Both are right up my alley. She is on the other side of the country though and I have been considering traveling to see her if I had some other reason to be in the Bay Area at the same time.

Locally there is Atomic Bettie. I have not been 100% sure I am ready to commit to them because of the cost and not really knowing if I dig their style. I have seen some of the ladies they feature in real life because some of them are in the Sexy Kitty burlesque troop. I think they made those ladies look fantastic compared to real life (I’m not saying they were ugly but they look really polished in the pictures).

Tonight I hit the motherload of inspirations. My fiance and I went to Barnes and Noble’s to dork around the bargain stacks. He found a 3-D Hollywood Nudes book. I thought it was funny and we bought it since it was under $10. I started looking at it once we were home and quickly realized the photos are all by Harold Lloyd. Harold Lloyd was one crazy mofo! He was a filmaker and actor in the same vein as Charlie Chaplin. He did his own stunts and even lost part of his hand when a bomb went off while he was still holding it. I had no idea he shot women like this later in his career. This book is amazing! Tura Satana (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!), Betty Page, Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, etc. I have a huge fascination with Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and was even thinking about the opening go-go scene of that movie as a boudoir picture inspiration before this book.

My fiance and I went through the book once already. I need to flag some pages that he likes as I continue to ponder the boudoir picture idea. However I am one giant step closer to putting a deposit down with Atomic Betty if we are on the same vibe about how cool Harold’s pictures are and if they can emulate his style. The book is also cool because the 3-D glasses are in his signature round style which is hilarious.

the death of organicweddings.com

Michelle Kozin’s “Organic Weddings: Balancing Ecology, Style and Tradition” was published in 2003. I bought my fiance a copy as a present and it is dog-eared and marked up as we prepare for our wedding. It seems like eco-minded weddings are gaining popularity but I sadly discovered recently that Michelle’s organicweddings website is no longer active. I know she has a background in business and I wonder if she was not able to reap the benefits of her Organic Weddings project. She was perhaps a couple of years too early with the idea because it seems like mainstream society is running with random green wedding projects now. Why just last month two characters on the soap opera Days of our Lives had a much-hyped “green” wedding. I naively hope that the rest of America is not too far behind.

I tried to e-mail Michelle with no luck. New Society Publishers sent me an address to contact her. I want to send her well wishes and thank her for her publication. The book is still available and I recommend getting your hands on a copy at a bookstore or your public library.

I suppose the successor of the Organic Weddings legacy is now Green Elegance Weddings. There are many resources available on the internet, in the library, and via your local co-op, but this website seems to follow a similar layout model as Organic Weddings.

If you need a quick tutorial about eco-minded weddings you can check out a quick and comprehensive guide at treehugger.

Stick to Your Guns

As a destination wedding bride I must make it clear that Costa Rica was not our first choice. One hour south of Miami is Key Largo, it is the first key you encounter in the famous Florida Keys. We went down there today to workout and get breakfast at the Key Largo Coffeehouse. Key Largo is semi-important to us for the fact that we were planning to get married there for a little while.

I should give some background on determining our wedding location. We live in Miami, his family is in the midwest, and my family is out west. We did not know any place we liked that was central and convenient for everyone. We don’t care that much for Miami and ruled that out but figured the Keys were nearby and they might be enjoyable for our guests.

We scouted Key Largo in November 2006 and liked the Hungry Pelican for lodging and the ceremony. We were also considering their hut for the reception and the coffeehouse for the rehearsal dinner. Soon after we made these choices my fiance slammed on the brakes because he noticed we were sacrificing a lot for the sake of our guests. He talked me into waiting a couple of months before we made our final decision because he did not think we had found a location we absolutely loved yet.

During those months he suggested Costa Rica and I am so proud of him for demonstrating an active planing role or else we may still be doing a Key Largo wedding next January. In the end I think we may have stayed at the Hungry Pelican for our lodging but moved the ceremony and reception to Pierre’s/Morada Bay near Islamorada. That option sounds appealing to me, but it is not my ideal wedding plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Key Largo but it is not the best location for us. We were not in love with the idea of getting married there. I now realize we were trying to force ourselves into loving it even though we did not feel a strong affinity towards the area. There is not a lot of space due to all the development on the narrow key. The beaches are not known for their expanses of soft sand. The community is friendly, but we know friendlier ones that we feel more comfortable in.

I am writing all this because today we went down there and I was reminded about what could have been. It was hard to find someplace to run that wasn’t right on US 1 and even then we were confined to a one-square block park. It was cute and complete with a physical fitness course and aquatic complex, but it was small compared to miles of open beach. We also tried to hop in the water after breakfast and had the rude reminder that finding an open space with clean water to jump into was difficult even on a small strip of land bordered by two huge water bodies. There were other nuances we noticed that made us shake our heads in agreement that a Pura Vida wedding better fits our personalities.

The bottom line is that Key Largo is fun, but we like another location better. I am glad that my fiance encouraged us to “stick to our guns” despite the initial objections of our guests and the hassle of coordinating from another country. My #1 wedding advice for any couple is to do what feels right for you and your fiance. This is important for all major decisions. You can let your family and friends influence the minor stuff but you deserve to have the celebration you’ll be proud of years later. We are seven months from our wedding and I know I would have felt like we were “settling” if we stayed on course for a Key Largo wedding.

***I do have a piece of useful advice for Key Largo couples… go to the Chamber of Commerce. The staff there are friendly and helpful. They called locations for us for our scouting trip, offered to help with every coupon they had for our out-of-town bags, and even offered the services of their marketing staff to help with our planning. They are a great service in a tourist destination and they are under-utilized.

MotherHubbard, at least we have the blue…

My macbook (my less than 6 month old macbook) is on the fritz and I wanted to work on my mood board this weekend. Poo!

My dear friend Sarita made one and it was displayed at weddingbee.com this past week. Click here to check out her mood board for her Sevilla, Spain wedding.

So I had some pretty pictures on my macbook that is now in the shop. I figure I’ll keep collecting images and try to put something together with my much older iBook. It doesn’t have CS2 on it though, so it won’t be as cool as I had hoped for now.

The chandelier on display is great because of the blue. When my fiance and I were picking colors months ago we knew we wanted turmeric and a deep merlot. I let him have free-range with the last color. He kept saying blue but couldn’t figure out the shade of blue. Today we were at a trinket shop and he flipped out when he saw a random pillow cover… it was THE BLUE!! Too funny. He took out his little point and shoot camera to capture it. Previously I figured cornflower and just went with the blue lining the sleeve of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s robe because he couldn’t give me any precise details about the shade of blue. Now we need to retract our steps because he has gone nuts with this blue. Is it like iced teal? It reminds me of drinks with Blue Curacao or rock candy.