Sunday, April 5, 2015

Seeds are COCONUTS!

The concept of a seed is mind-boggling. It's something we learn as a kid, but still wrestle with as an adult. Everything for that giant tree is packed into that one little seed that looks nothing like it?! No way. AND that tree will only grow if that genetically-packed seed finds itself into the perfect (not just ideal...perfect) environment. AND each little seed has to be engineered in a way to get to that perfect location by air, by getting stuck to an animal, by getting consumed by an animal, and some by water.

Which brings us to one seed we find particularly interesting...the coconut! A palm tree puts so much energy into producing just a few coconuts each year, with high confidence that a few of them will root and grow on up. When a coconut drops to the ground it might roll a few feet and root and grow up next to mom (but like a human, too much under the fronds of mom could deter their growth), or it could drop in the ocean and get swept down the coast to a new beach...like this little one below.
These Talking Heads lyrics capture what this coconut is thinking...
Well...How did I get here? 
Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground
Ideal Environment - coconuts grow best in an area with sandy and loamy soil, 72 degree temps or above, with 30-50 inches of rain per year (where we grow best too). Until around 80 years, a coconut palm will produce 50 to 200 coconuts each year. Coconut palms grow on or near shorelines so their shallow root system has access to water.
Everyone has been lying to you. Here's the truth - a coconut is really a drupe - a fruit with a hard case around the seed. But really, it falls into the fruit, nut, and seed categories as well (that is confusing and you can read more about here). Each coconut has layers - around the seed there is a fibrous, woody layer, a fleshy layer and an outer layer (typically smooth with a greenish color). The liquid inside is the endosperm, or food for the young seed. 

As the seed matures, the endosperm becomes firmer and will sprout from one of it's eyes. Ah! Each coconut has three pores, called eyes. The shoot will head up and turn into fronds and the roots head down in the opposite direction. It takes 4-10 years for a coconut tree to reach maturity (dwarf trees mature faster). Coconuts reach their full size in about 6 months, but it takes about a year to mature. When they mature this is when they begin to drop from the tree, also when you should be wary of falling coconuts!
Another lie - botanically speaking, the coconut palm is not a tree since there is no bark or branches. A coconut palm is a woody perennial monocotyledon with the trunk being the stem.

Enough thinking...time for a surf.

Friday, April 3, 2015

SUSTAINABLE SAMPLE SALE

When two ethically and sustainably minded brands get together for a sample sale...only good things will happen. One day only, so make sure to swing by the Melissa Joy Manning SoHo space on Earth Day for some guilt-free shopping!

In honor of Earth Day we will donate 10% of proceeds to the Clean Water Fund.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fire Making 101

fire making class new york

Last night we took over Tent & Trails, a cavernous woman-run outdoor outfitter in Lower Manhattan. The well-stocked store was an a gear junkies’ dream, complete with a knowledgeable staff who shared stories about climbing Everest without oxygen masks.

Between parkas and plenty of gore-tex jackets, we heard a fantastic lecture on the principles of fire-making by Rhett Godfrey, Loomstate's Sustainability Director. Luckily, the New York City Fire Department wasn’t called, even when Rhett carried live coals outside for a practical demonstration of ignition techniques!

fire making class new york

Some things we learned about fire-making without flint or matches:

  • There are three friction based methods, the hand drill, the bow drill, and the fire plow (check out this website for the knitty-gritty scoop).
  • Each method relies on a softwood spindle to create enough friction to produce an ember.
  • The goal is to create a coal that can then be ignited with a tinder nest, so no need to worry about setting your house on flames!
  • You need strong hands, lots of practice, and some stamina.
  • Even if you never start a fire while freezing in the tundra mid-winter (knock on wood), it’s a pretty sweet skill to learn.

fire making class new york

Post by Outdoor Fests Audrey Larkin. More articles and adventures by Outdoor Fest at outdoorfest.org. More classes by Loomstate coming this spring...sign up to find out!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jar Oatmeal Recipe

Here's the solution to that disheartened "oh man I forgot breakfast :(" feeling when you jet out the door and settle into your morning commute. It takes a total of three minutes to throw together the night before and you will wake up with a healthy grab-n-go breakfast that is so cleanly packaged in a mason jar that your coworkers will think you paid big $ for.

Ingredients:
1/2 c dry oats
1/2 c almond milk
2 T chia seeds
2 T maple syrup
1 t cinnamon
handful chopped almonds
handful blueberries

Directions:
Toss in the dry ingredients, put the lid on and shake. Use a spoon to form a little valley for the syrup to settle into. Pour over the milk, add the blueberries on top and seal the jar. Keep it in your fridge until you're ready to head out in the morning.



A Total Look Inside

The Canvas Tote is straightforwardly our favorite. It has the easy, weekend tote bag look, with the functionality of a weekday work bag. Six deep pockets will get you super organized. No longer will your headphones get all tangled with your sneakers and power cord. Here's a deep dive into the tote bags of some Loomstaters (where few others have gone before).

100% organic cotton and available in two styles on the site >

ANNIE / E-COMMERCE 
Three words to describe the Loomstate tote...
Casual, comfortable, organized.
Where do you primarily use your bag? 
To work! It's the most professional looking of the tote world.
Little pockets are ideal for... 
Reusable coffee cup, umbrella, sunnies...anything I need to access easily.
Big pocket is ideal for...
Laptop and drawing pad.
I never leave home without my ___. 
Organic beanie! It's been a cold NY winter and my beanie has been key.
In Annie's Tote:
     -seashells - always have some in my pockets and bags
     -Field Notes is great for jotting down ideas on a long subway ride
     -sketch pad - for Drink n' Draw classes after work
     -oatmeal in a jar - my favorite breakfast, check out the recipe!
     -Oakley Frogskins
     -Loomstate Organic Cotton Beanie

KELLY / PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT 
Three words to describe the Loomstate tote...
Perfect, easy, spacious.
Where do you primarily use your bag?
As a carry on when traveling, also as an overnight bag to and from my boyfriend's apartment.
Little pockets are ideal for...
Keeping the little stuff separate and easy to find - headphones, umbrella, a book, bikinis, sunglasses.
Big pocket is ideal for...
Clothing, makeup bag, notepad, beach towel.
I never leave home without my....
Sunglasses, 2-3 types of lip stuff, my keys!
In Kelly's tote: 
     -cotton scarf - a gift from a good friend
     -Keihl’s in flight refreshing facial mist - essential oils + Tibetan ginseng
     -Best Made notebook - my everyday book for reminders
     -wooden turtle - a token from Nueda Vida de Ramiro in Tulum
     -How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley - great for a laugh
     -Nars lipstick in Jungle Red - a must have
     -Traditional Medicinals peppermint tea - my daily afternoon tea
     -Patrae zip pouch - made in NYC by my friend from Slovakian textiles
     -Micron pens: essential for sketching
     -fabric swatches for the next big inspiration
     -Oliver Peoples Corie tortoise sunglasses - best sunglasses ever :)

EMMANUEL / TECHNICAL DESIGN
Three words to describe the Loomstate tote...
Durable, roomy, stylish.
Where do you primarily use your bag? 
Everywhere. For work, grocery shopping + to the gym.
Little pockets are ideal for...
Umbrella, water bottle, sneakers after workout.
Big pocket is ideal for...
 Books.
I never leave home without...
Sunglasses, phone charger.
In Emmanuel's tote:  
     -James Baldwin's The Last Interview
     -God Loves Haiti - a different narrative on the 2010 Haiti earthquake
     -sunglasses
     -box of pins
     -measuring tape
     -notebook

RHETT / SUSTAINABILITY DIRECTOR 
Where do you primarily use your bag? 
I use this tote to go to the park and when I teach. I like to be over-prepared and carry a lot of supplies with me. 
Little pockets are ideal for...
Plants or sticks or unknown findings.
Big pocket is ideal for...
Binoculars, identification guides, and note books, a sweater, and a bottle of water (usually in this season it's a thermos).
I never leave home without...
My thoughts notebook and a pen.
In Rhett's Tote:
     -a tree identification book
     -fire by friction kit + kindling
     -Take-Sumi writing ink
     -seeds I found in the park

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Aww Muffin!


Nothing says I LOVE YOU like making your muffin some muffins. You can eat them in the process, so it's a painless DIY Valentine's Day gift. Here's one of our favorite recipes for pretty healthy muffins - we substituted the sugar and butter with honey and greek yogurt. They are definitely gluten-ful (an interesting substitute), but guilt-free. Have a sweet Valentine's Day! Love, Loomstate

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk
1 t vanilla
1 cup bananas, mashed
1 cup sliced strawberries, sliced
optional - add some flax seeds or protein powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F + gather ingredients 
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe

Mix together all dry ingredients in one bowl
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe

In another bowl mix together all wet ingredients, except the strawberries
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe

Combine wet and dry batches
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe

Fold in the strawberries
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners
strawberry banana healthy muffin recipe
  
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean. Patience, grasshopper.

Smooooth Moves

This is a simple and healthy way to prep your love (or yourself) for a sweeet day, whether you're headed out on a random adventure (what else are weekends for?) or committed to cozying inside away from the cold (we're in New York, we get it).  We're all about this juicing and smoothie concept, so send over your recipes - customercare@loomstate.org and we will share our favorites here. Enjoy!
healthy strawberry cashew smoothie recipe magic bullet

healthy strawberry cashew smoothie recipe magic bullet
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup rolled oats 
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 greek yogurt
1 T maple syrup 
1 t vanilla extract 
1 t cinnamon
optional: protein powder or pnut butter

Directions:
blend all ingredients til smooth (we used a Magic Bullet)
prop a strawberry on the edge for presentation ;)

Ultimate Last-Minute Valentine

Totally forgot about Valentine's Day? Got an old potato in your kitchen? You're set! What seems like the simplest and most childish gift, will get you extra points for being nostalgic and homemade. (You could opt for the dried pasta glued to a card technique). Needless to say, this is also a great Valentine's Day activity for kids (show them there's more to this day than cupcakes and chocolate). Our Creative Director's daughter Freya showed us with ease how it's done...

Ingredients:
potato
knife
ink (Freya used acrylic paint)
paper
a Valentine

Directions:
slice the potato in half
carefully use knife to carve a design, the simpler the better
spread a thin layer of ink on a flat plate
dip the stamp or use a paintbrush to apply ink
stamp lightly


Here's another route you could take.