In this week's 'My RI Life', meet the owner and proprietor of Newport's Green Envy Eco-Boutique, the beautiful and talented Rachel Lessne, who has some great insights into dining and shopping local and going green while keeping the glam.
Food And Restaurants
I normally do a lot of cooking at home and my favorite thing to do is pick up ingredients at local farm stands like The Mission Farm on Curtis Corner Road in Wakefield. They have everything from greens to eggs to beef. All raised and grown on the farm with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. I live in Wakefield and work in Newport, so I have favorite restaurants on both sides of the bridges. In Newport, my go-to place for an after work drink and appetizer with friends is Perro Salado. There's nothing better than their Spicy Cucumber Margarita. I guess I have a thing for spicy, because my absolute favorite dinner dish is Brick Alley Pub's Triple Hot Hot Hot Buffalo Pasta. There's even crushed red pepper in the homemade pasta! Off the island... if I had the funds to eat out for every meal I'd do breakfast at The Ocean Mist. Their Something On A Bagel is something I think I'd die if I couldn't get. Which is in danger of happening. The Ocean Mist and Tara's Family Pub are in trouble because the town is trying to build a seawall that will accelerate the beach erosion that those businesses are on. If you go to www.protectmatunuck.com you can sign the petition to stop the wall from being built...Ok, back to my day of eating out. Lunch would be at The Bike Stop Café in Narragansett. I'm still a little kid at heard and love grilled cheese. Their Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Organic Tomato Soup are so yummy. Dinner would be at Luk Thai on Main Street in Wakefield and their Mango Curry. And no day is complete without dessert. I'd choose to pick up something at Sweetcakes Bakery in Peace Dale. It would take about an hour to choose because everything there is delicious.
Shopping And Style
It's no surprise that my favorite shops would be those locally owned that sell handmade and fair trade items. My number one favorite place to shop is at Field of Artisans. It's a weekly fair where only vendors of handmade items can sell their goods. It pops up in a different location every week all year long. The artisans range from jewelry makers and painters to candle makers and florists. I also love Simply Natural in Narragansett, they have the same standards for the products we carry at Green Envy. The Purple Cow in Wakefield has been THE place to buy gifts since I was in high school. Another favorite since high school is The Fantastic Umbrella Factory. I could spend a lifetime browsing their many shops and gardens.
Health, Wellness, And Beauty
From owning Green Envy for almost 9 years, I have learned so much about beauty products and how they can affect your health. The majority of skin care products on the market contain ingredients that are known to be toxic or carcinogenic. In small doses they might be fine, but if your face wash, moisturizer, foundation, powder, etc... all contain these harmful ingredients, it's no longer a small dose. I enjoy making my own skin care products from recipes I find in places like www.gorgeouslygreen.com. They work wonderfully and are less expensive than store bought products. But if you don't have the time to make your own, you know you can always come to Green Envy and purchase natural skin care products with clinical results.
Herbal medicinal recipes also intrigue me. I enjoy learning about them. I have a recipe for a migraine buster that has worked for every friend who's ever tried it:
- 1 cup cow's milk brought to a slight boil
- 2 tablespoons raw organic honey
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
You mix the honey and cinnamon into the milk after brought to a boil and stir as you drink as soon as it's cool enough to. Then lie down for 15 minutes. Your pain should be lessened significantly.
I use natural remedies for everything from sunburn to flu prevention to stomach aches.
Green Envy Eco-Boutique
I opened Green Envy 1 year after graduating from The University of Rhode Island when I was 23 years old. I always knew I wanted my own shop, but in college I discovered the world of eco-friendly and fair trade merchandise and became obsessed with only buying gifts that were made by a real person, paid a fair and sustainable way. It was difficult finding a place to buy items like this, so I thought there must be other customers like me who would appreciate a store where you could truly feel good about anything you bought. At Green Envy you don't have to analyze skin product labels, checking for harmful ingredients. You don't have to worry about buying a purse made by a woman in a sweatshop. Every item is eco-friendly and fair trade. (And) Customers have really taken to us. We've won 14 awards in the 8 years we've been open. A very common phrase to hear in the store is: "This is my favorite store in the world!"
Of course, we're very busy in the summer time, but December is always our best selling month because locals as well as people from as far as NY and VT will come to do their holiday shopping. We carry everything from home décor to skin care to jewelry to winter accessories. Best selling items include tiny cars made from recycled tin cans made by a cooperative in Madagascar, anti-aging Vitamin C serum by Mad Hippie, organic soaps, and locally made sea glass and beach stone jewelry by M.eyeimages.
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Rachel Lessne, except for The Ocean Mist, The Bike Stop Cafe, Sweetcakes Bakery, and The Purple Cow, which were all found via Google Images.