Monday, December 08, 2008

Green Your Online Shopping!

I dread shopping this time of year. I avoid mall traffic at all costs, so much so that in recent years most of my Christmas gifts have been purchased online - and I know I'm not alone. Wouldn't it be great if every online purchase you made could make a difference to the planet? Well now they can! When Tal told me about his idea months ago, I was skeptical of how it could work. Then he revealed his website, and how it works - and it couldn't be easier! He simply uses affiliate programs with shopping websites. So when you make a purchase and click on "Green this!" a small percentage of your purchase goes to green causes that are chosen by registered users. And no, you aren't paying more for your purchase, the retailer is paying what is called a referral fee. Check out his website GAS! for yourself and see how easy it is to GREEN your online purchases and make a difference. And if what I described above sounds like googly gook to you, all of your questions can be answered on the website. I've listed the benefits of registering at GAS below (copied straight from the website).

Reasons to Register:
  • Track how much CO2 your purchases have helped clear (we do not store any info on your purchase, just how much you've helped donate).
  • Display the amount of CO2 you've helped clear on your Facebook profile or in a widget on your site or blog.
  • Decide where your money goes. The money that gets donated each month to green causes, goes to organizations picked by our registered users. Every registered user has a say in where the money goes to… Planting new forests? Researching alternative energy sources? Carbon Offsets? It's up to you.
Check it out and start greening your online shopping for the holidays, and all year long. Happy traffic free, no standing in lines, mob free, shopping!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Kudos for Kroger

We went grocery shopping tonight at Kroger and decided we needed to restock our wine rack. When we went to check out we were just going to put the bottles in the cart with no bags and take them to the car - until the cashier offered a free reusable wine bag with dividers inside. Thanks Kroger!

You can see our table is all decked out for Christmas :).

Catch up

It has been a while since I posted, so I thought I should do a catch up post before blogging about new topics of interest (I have a list!). November was a busy month for me... Work was hectic, the holiday madness began with Thanksgiving, and I celebrated my 30th birthday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Most years we travel to be with family for the holiday, but this year we stayed home and celebrated with our friends. We have much to be thankful for, and it was nice to share the day with great friends eating yummy food and watching football. Though I have decided that 8 hours of football is just too much for me :).

As for my 30th Birthday... it was easier than I expected or maybe it just hasn't hit me yet. I don't feel 30 years old! I had a great night out with friends - dinner, drinks, and live music. Funny how the band got exponentially better as the night went on and more drinks were consumed. I have decided to embrace my 30s - they are the new 20s right? Right! What is funny is that yesterday I woke up with a sore neck. I couldn't turn my head to the right. And though it's better today it is definitely not back to normal. It's amazing how many movements require the muscles in your neck, I had no idea! Hopefully this is just a freak thing, and not the beginning of my body falling apart like my husband keeps warning me about! I will not allow it. As soon as my neck is back to normal I'm going for a long run.

I can't believe another year has flown by... where has the time gone? The holiday season is upon us already, and I have yet to even begin Christmas shopping! Thankfully our families usually only exchange gifts for the kids. Personally, I much rather plan some fun activities to all do together as a family than exchange gifts. For one thing, shopping this time of year is stressful in itself, and I hate the stress of finding the perfect gift. Besides, it's not GREEN to buy stuff just to have a gift to give. It is quality time with loved ones that is priceless, and in my opinion, the greatest gift. I'm trying to cook up some ideas for things our family can do together this year and that all ages will enjoy (from grandchildren to grandparents)... let me know if you have any ideas to share!

Oh, if there are any Twilight fans out there... I updated the previous post with my thoughts about the movie in the comments section. There are book/movie spoilers so be warned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Countdown to Twilight

UPDATE: My thoughts of the movie are in the comments section since they contain book/movie spoilers - you've been warned!

I can't wait for the Twilight movie! I'm going to see it Saturday night with some friends from work... I wonder how crazy the theater will be since it's the day after opening night. I have a feeling the line will be long and there will be just as many squeeling fans! Of all book to movie adaptations that I've seen, I'm most excited for Twilight. Honestly I'm usually disappointed in movie adaptations of books I love. Don't even get me started about the Harry Potter movies (though I watch them anyway). I have purposely loaned my copy of the book out to multiple people so that I can't re-read the book again before the movie (which is a win-win because I'm spreading the fandom)! I've made that mistake before and I was way too critical of the movie. Twilight premiered last night and everything I've read so far is positive - the fans really loved it! Here's some video coverage of the premiere and interviews with the cast on the carpet:

And if you've been living under a rock and haven't seen the 10 different TV clips/previews of the movie (seriously, that's not a made up number) here's the trailer:
Twilight Trailer in HD

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bye Bye Bottled Water

Another great ZapRoot video... I don't always agree with what they say, but this one was on the mark for me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Java - the good and bad

So I get a newsletter from once a week in my inbox. This morning's edition tells me that a recent study claims that drinking coffee can make you live longer. This is great news to me, but it also listed some caveats... Here is the article:
Healthy or Not, Here I Come!
Over the years, research has produced mixed results on the health benefits of coffee. But a recent study was a win for the earthy brew. Heavy java drinkers (2 or more cups per day) experienced a modest decrease in all-cause mortality, including death from heart disease. We can probably credit the antioxidant-rich beans used to brew the stuff. In fact, Americans drink so much coffee that it’s one of our top sources of antioxidants. Here’s more good news about coffee.

Reality Check
So what are the caveats for coffee drinking? There are only a few. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you don’t need to be told not to be a java junkie. And unfiltered coffee can raise blood fats, so use paper filters and ditch the French press. Although it remains to be seen if coffee has a long-term impact on blood pressure, we know it can cause a temporary spike, so go easy if you have high blood pressure. And -- as always -- do everything in moderation. A pot-a-day habit probably doesn’t do anyone any favors. Check this RealAge article for more benefits of the brew.
Is anyone else bummed about the advice to ditch the French press? I just got mine about 6 months ago and I love it! I no longer have a coffee machine sitting out on my counter (replaced by an espresso machine - mmhmm!) and I like that I can easily tuck it away in a cabinet. So what are blood fats anyway? I wiki'd the term and here is what I got...
Blood lipids (or blood fats) are lipids in the blood, either free or bound to other molecules. They are mostly transported in a protein capsule[citation needed], and the density of the lipids and type of protein determines the fate of the particle and its influence on metabolism. The concentration of blood lipids depends on intake and excretion from the intestine, and uptake and secretion from cells. Blood lipids are mainly fatty acids and cholesterol. Hyperlipidemia is the presence of elevated or abnormal levels of lipids and/or lipoproteins in the blood, and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Well crap. Now I'm thinking maybe I should dig out my coffee maker from the donation pile... at least for the times that I'm on a coffee kick (vs. espresso).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't forget to VOTE!

I voted this morning! I loved this "I voted today"/Twilight theme picture and had to post it here... Anyway, it took me one hour from the time I got in line until I left the booth. It wasn't too bad, the weather was nice and I was able to catch up on some reading while waiting in line. After you vote, head over to Starbucks for a free tall coffee, and then to Ben & Jerry's for a free scoop of ice cream (at select locations).

Do your part - VOTE!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Interview about JUNK

Dr. Marcus Eriksen was interviewed by Martha Stewart about what he found while crossing the Pacific Ocean this summer on JUNK. It's full of interesting information, and definitely worth watching! I followed JUNK's blog this summer as they crossed the Pacific - from southern California to Hawaii - on a raft literally made of junk. Why you ask? To raise awareness about pollution of our oceans. You can read my previous entry here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ready to Compost

Today I assembled our new compost bin which is made of 100% post-consumer plastic (and is also recyclable). Now I just need to start it with a layer of yard waste... but it's pretty much open for business, I can't wait to have some nice moist compost for our garden beds. Not to mention that this will cut our curbside trash in half!

This can be checked off my Sustainable Kitchen Project list :).

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ranking of the 3Rs

I thought this cartoon was worth sharing here... The 3 Rs are ranked by order of importance Reduce in first place, Reuse in second, and Recycle in third.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Out with the Household Toxins

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) held a collection for the past 2 weeks for Household Hazardous Wastes right down the road from me, and I took advantage! A few months ago I collected all my cleansers that were deemed household toxins (aka not Earth and people friendly) and boxed them up so I could hike them across town to recycle. I hung on to the boxes for a little while so we could be sure that we weren't going to need them, or change our minds... the last thing I want to do is buy more chemicals! Thanks to the EPA, I only had to drive 3 minutes down the road and they even took the boxes out of the car for me! I dropped off 3 small-medium sized boxes of cleansers, a few petroleum based candles, and a couple of batteries. Feels good to have all those toxins out of our home, not to mention all the cabinet space I've gained!

If you have Hazardous Household Waste (batteries, paint, tires, cleansers, pesticides, etc.) - PLEASE act responsibly and dispose your HHW properly! Improperly disposed HHW can contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets, and these in the end lead to our oceans! Not sure where to recycle/dispose your HHW? Go to Recycling Hotline: Earth 911 and simply type in your zip code and what you'd like to recycle - from plastic to household cleaners to mattresses. This hotline helps you locate recycling centers in your community.

Here's an interesting article on Hidden Household Toxins

Saturday, October 25, 2008

GREEN Holiday Cards

Last night I bought Christmas cards. That's right, it's October 25th and I already have Christmas cards... ME who usually buys them a week before Christmas and may or may not actually get them in the mail in time! I was shopping with a friend and she needed to pick up a few Birthday cards at the Hallmark store, so I went in with her and behind where she was looking was shelves of holiday cards... and then I see a couple of shelves labeled GREEN eco-friendly cards (or something like that I don't quite remember). Well of course that peeked my interest so I took a closer look. They have a whole line of boxed GREEN holiday cards - and cute ones too for a great price! I'm disappointed to say that I could not find these on the Hallmark website to post a link to them here. Such a shame... well, here's what is printed on the package:
These cards are made from 50% sugarcane by-products and 50% recycled paper, so no new trees were cut down to make them. They are also recyclable. Happy Holidays to the planet and to you.
WHOOHOO! I'm so excited to send these to my family and friends this year! Below are a few links for places to buy recycled holiday cards online:
Pear Tree Greetings
KidBean (expensive but cute!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sustainable Kitchen

I stumbled across a blog post by Kelby Carr titled Sustainable Kitchen Project, and was inspired to start my own... or really continue the "project" I started back in May. Somehow life going-ons (mainly work and travel) have gotten me off track - and I need to re-focus! Below is a list of my own goals for a sustainable kitchen. I think these goals are realistic for me, and a good start...
  1. Make my own yogurt
  2. Start a compost - stop talking about it and DO it!
  3. Buy MORE local produce and products
  4. Make more kinds of breads
I'll let you know how it goes! What are you doing to have a more sustainable kitchen?

Ode to Pumpkin

Pumpkin! Oh how I love thee... Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips of course), Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Pumpkin Soup, toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and don't forget the Pumpkin Pie!

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown - I've watched it just about every year for as long as I can remember... ABC is airing it on Tuesday Oct. 28th 8/7c so set your DVRs! I'm sure I'll catch some edited for TV scary movies as well. Gotta love the classics like Halloween I, II, III (actually there are 9, yes NINE!), and my absolute favorite - Beetle Juice!

Here are some fun facts about pumpkin you might not have known, courtesy of The Pumpkin Patch.
  • Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
  • The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
  • Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
  • Native Americans called pumpkins "isqoutm squash."
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Waste To-Go

I love the convenience of food to-go, but I HATE all the waste that goes along with the food. I was ecstatic to find out that the company I work for is finally making changes to become more eco-friendly in our cafeteria. They've stopped using evil Styrofoam and clear plastic to-go containers in 2 (grill and deli) of the 5 stations, possibly more but I didn't scope out the other lines. Instead they are using paper baskets which I hope are made of recycled paper. Today I happily waited in the deli line, trying to crunch the numbers of this change - how many to-go containers are prevented from going into landfills, how it impacts the to-go container industry, etc.. So then, I ordered my chicken wrap with side salad. I take my chicken wrap wrapped once in paper, and I almost said, no paper basket but then I thought oh well, the salad will have to go in there... um, wrong... she handed me a clear plastic fancy cup of salad topped with saran wrap. Seriously? Before, side salads were spooned into the container from a large bowl. So really, they traded the waste for another kind in a different shape? UGH. Oh well, baby steps right? I really hope this is just the beginning. I do have to give them props for selling to go mugs offering discount refills, and making a major attempt to reduce the amount of waste - but they have a ways to go.

I still try to pack and bring most of my lunches from home, use SS flatware and my cloth napkins. Curious? You can check out my previous entry about waste-free lunches here!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Another random post for this type of blog - but I can not wait for this movie! I really hope it can live up to the book... but it looks great.
Twilight HD Exclusive Trailer

I stumbled across this blog post while googling the new Twilight trailer that was really interesting. The blogger is getting a PhD in fantasy literature adaptations (book to movie to video game, basically a PhD in Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, etc.) - SERIOUSLY how cool/fun is that? There are no real spoilers in this post except for maybe defining Edward's character so if you haven't read the book, be warned. Anyway, check it out here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm back from our 3 week Europe vacation! Not sure if everyone gave up on this blog... but I'm back and ready to get back to blogging. I plan to post some eco type pictures I took along our road trip in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic - but I don't have those sorted yet. To keep you entertained I uploaded this video we took while stopped on a little road, waiting for the cow herd moving ceremony to pass us by in Switzerland. They have ceremonies when herds are moved to higher and lower pastures in the mountains. The large bells are for straying cows and the bigger the bell, the prouder the farmer is... we learned that some bells can cost over $2,000! Don't miss the MOO in the middle. The audio is pretty funny (I think).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bullet Breakfast

I think I've figured out my perfect work day breakfast, and thought I would share... I can't take full credit because I evolved it from a recipe by Tosca Reno in her Eat Clean Cookbook. I call it the Bullet Breakfast because I make it in the Magic Bullet (a mini blender). It's so quick and easy to make - especially if you use a food scale - with minimal clean up! Here you go:

Bullet Breakfast
1 banana
1/2 cup FF/skim milk
1/3 cup rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal or 1 minute)
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 scoop protein powder - vanilla or chocolate (I use Designer Whey)
1 shot of espresso (optional)
1 tsp honey

This is tasty with or without the espresso (or coffee). I think it's yummier (is that a word?) made with vanilla protein powder if you don't add the espresso.... but better with chocolate if you do (think mocha java!). This is a perfect clean eating breakfast... It's got the complex carbs for fiber, and protein to keep your sugar levels steady and keep you full. Plus, a dose of healthy fats and the kick of the espresso/coffee! If you try it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Mosaic

You can make your own too!

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your flickr name?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I heart LUSH

LUSH is a company that sells fresh homemade cosmetics. A close friend of mine has been raving about their bath products for years now... and I never really paid much attention because a) there wasn't a store near me, and b) I'm not much of a bath person. Well... in my search to find more natural beauty products that come in less packaging, I stumbled across LUSH online and finally learned what all the fuss was about! WHY did it take me so long to get with the program? LUSH started over in England, and now has stores all over the world. What I like most about this company is that their products are homemade, and they publish their ingredients - which are good for you, and the environment.

The product that drew me to LUSH is their solid shampoos. I love that they have no evil plastic packaging, and they are great for travel because you don't have to claim them as a liquid/gel at airport security. The Seanik Shampoo Bar pictured to the left is the first one I have tried, they have a hockey puck type shape. I really like the way Seanik smells, it makes my hair soft and shiny, and I actually like the little pieces of seaweed. Each bar lasts ~ 60-80 washes depending on the length and thickness of your hair. I've ordered 3 more (right before the store near me opened - grrr), Godiva, Squeaky Green, and Karma Komba.

My new favorite soap (granted I've only tried a couple so far) is called Honey I Washed the Kids (HIWTK). It smells so good in it's honey vanillaness that you almost want to take a bite (no, you can't eat it). Besides smelling great, its creamy lather left my skin clean and soft, and the scent lingered for a while after my shower. I now have a slice sitting next to my sink, and I'm finding excuses to wash my hands!

Anyway... so far I have loved everything I've tried which includes Angels on Bare Skin (face cleanser), Mask of Magnaminty (face mask), Mudflats (soap with mud in it!), Skinny Dip (body butter), Seanik, and HIWTK. I have a few other kinds of soap, and a bath bomb that I am looking forward to giving a whirl. LUSH has definitely become a new favorite store... 4 days, and I'm already an addict! So, are you a LUSHie already? Have some favorites you'd like to share? Rants or raves? Leave a comment!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pickens Plan - Good or Bad?

At this point I'm not sure what to think about Picken's Plan... but I thought this was funny. Be warned there are a few sort of not really bleeped words in it (which is the part where I laughed). This short video by viropop also includes information about recycling your gadgets that makes me feel less guilty about my gadget buying habits.

Read more about The Pickens Energy Plan on his website, then read more about it in this Business Week article. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Break Dance

Random post today, as this is off topic... However, I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance and WALL-E. So when I saw this video of WALL-E break dancing, it made me think of my favorite SYTYCD audition this season - a pop dancer from L.A. who is just amazing in his genre. Here they are for your viewing pleasure!

Tonight on SYTYCD (9pm ET on Fox), the top 6 perform and America will vote for who they want to see in next week's finals! It's getting tough, and honestly I can't pick a favorite and I will be sad to see any of them go. Last week's vote off was shocking for the guys, I really thought it was time for Mark to go... NOT Will!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Carbon Offsetting

Just in case you're wondering where I've been and why my posts have slowed down... it's because this blog has well, been on the back burner recently while my hubby and I plan our 3 week Europe trip! To say we are excited is an understatement, try ecstatic! The picture below of Murren, Switzerland (picture by moonjazz)... yeah, we're going there!
I have a confession to make. Though I had good intentions of planning a GREEN international trip - it's not going very well. Does it help that a couple of the hotels/B&Bs I've booked (so far) charge a carbon offset tax? Maybe... not really. Let's look at the big picture:
  • Transatlantic flight (x2): ~10,000 miles or ~5,000 lbs of CO2
  • Rental car estimate ~1,600 miles or ~700 lbs of CO2
Never fear, carbon offsetting is here! You can now buy your way out of damage and guilt by purchasing carbon offset. In my internet research I found this article on Independent Traveler that explains how this works,
For better or worse, the concept of "carbon offsetting" has gained considerable currency in the media as one way to mitigate the environmental impact of many facets of modern living. The concept is fairly simple: for every mile you travel, or rather every ton of carbon dioxide your mode of travel causes to be released into the atmosphere, you pay a small fee to enable other folks to work on solutions to mitigate the damaging ecological effect of your travel.
This article also lists multiple websites that you can purchase carbon offset from, both profit and non-profit organizations (listed at the bottom of this post). Some sites will even send you a handy certificate declaring your eco-goodness (can you read the sarcasm?). I do think this is a good idea, and I will pay for our trip's carbon offset... but I don't like the idea of people being able to buy their way out and thinking it's OK, no harm done as along as they have money. It doesn't change the fact that nonrenewable resources are being used, and toxins are being spewed into the atmosphere. Though I feel bad for the negative impacts of us traveling, especially our transatlantic flight, it by no means overshadows my desire to travel. For me, and many, the benefits (however personal) far outweigh the cons. Below is a list of things I do in attempt to travel more green, that everyone can do... some of these I borrowed from Independent Traveler's list of Green Travel Tips.
  • Reuse sheets and towels at hotels instead of having them changed each day
  • Bring your own toiletries rather than using the minis provided in hotels
  • Stay at locally owned hotels
  • When leaving the room, turn off the lights, TV, and adjust the thermostat - the A/C doesn't need to be running full blast when no one is there.
  • If your hotel offers recycling - use it (if you don't know, ask).
  • Offset the carbon emissions produced from your flight (this is a new one for me)
  • Rent a car that meets your needs and gets good mileage, or even better rent a hybrid when possible!
  • Walk to see sights, or use public transportation
  • My favorite: "Take nothing but photographs, and leave nothing but footprints"
  • Another favorite - when snorkeling or SCUBA diving do not touch the coral or stir up sediment (avoid as much as possible), as this damages the reef's fragile ecosystem - I can go on and on about this one...
The commercial aviation industry is taking some initiative, check out their website. They explain the impact of air travel, as aviation is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions. So, what are you doing to green your travel? Are fuel prices squashing your travel plans?

Here are some carbon offset websites:
GoZero (also on Travelocity)
Climate Care
Carbon Footprint

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Yesterday and today my WeatherBug widget for my zip code has had a red weather alert message that says -
ALERT 1 - Air Quality Alert
Ozone Watch. Atmospheric Conditions Are Expected To Be Favorable For Producing High Levels Of Ozone Pollution...
Nice. This would be reason #4 of why I'm taking a break from running. But I really am missing it... and I was going to go yesterday but after being at war with myself about sleep vs. run, in my hazy dreamy sleepiness the run lost. Now I'm glad I didn't go suck down a bunch of pollution. Maybe tomorrow? I will have to check the air quality first... GRRR.

Monday, July 14, 2008


OK, so... seeing 3 people litter in the past 5 days has pushed me into this rant. All 3 litterers were driving big trucks (just a fact), and I have 2 license plate numbers out of 3! The first 2 incidences were of trash flying out of the truck bed - fast food bag/packaging and soda can. The 3rd incidence and what sent me over the edge happened today. I was sitting at a red light, when I saw the driver of the truck right in front of me open his car door and drop a to-go cup on the ground. Seriously. SERIOUSLY? I can't think of many other behaviors that infuriate me more than littering. This is not a new blog topic (or rant) so I dug up my old blog entry... so here you go, though unfortunately the linked article no longer works.

Blog Entry from May 9, 2007:

Those of you who know me, know how I feel about littering. If not, well... it basically makes my face turn red and steam come out of my ears. Oh and don't forget the long rant it starts when I see someone litter! I came across a great article in USA Today titled Tattlers unite! Citizen sites share the shame which lists websites that allow anyone to tattle on someone for anything ranging from bad driving to littering. I LOVE it!!! I can't tell you how many times I've caught people littering... as if they think the world is their trash can. Watch out litterers (sp?) if I'm able to catch you with proof I'll report you on! Here's a video rant from a guy talking about throwing out cigarette butts (click here). Have fun checking out the websites, here's the ones listed in the article:

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I finally saw the movie WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth) with friends last night and LOVED it! It was such a great movie on so many different levels. Not only is it a great animated movie with great visual effects, it is a great story with heart - and a clear message, or really messages! A message about love (it makes the world go around after all), how fragile life is, and our planet that is our HOME. I pondered this movie, and its messages long after I walked out of the theater. I could go on and on about it but I don't want to give it all away. Go see it. Then come back and let me know what you thought about WALL-E! Just in case you've been living under a rock and haven't seen one... here's a trailer for the movie:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Strange Days on Planet Earth

This video is an excerpt of the episode Plastic Plague from National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth 2. We have watched all of the episodes from season 1 and 2 over the past month... and wow, talk about eye opening information! The first season has four 1 hour episodes covering invasive species, climate change, the role of predators, and rivers/oceans. The second season has 2 episodes and investigates what is happening to all the fish, our water sources, the impacts of plastic in our oceans.

I highly recommend this docu-series, I found each episode fascinating (not boring). I think everyone should watch them - really they should be handing these DVDs out for free. We rented them from Netflix, since we missed when they aired on PBS. You can read more about this series, and what you can do at the Strange Days website.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy belated 4th of July

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday weekend - happy 4th of July (a couple of days later)! I can't believe it's been a week since I made a blog entry... I have a couple draft entries that I'm working on and hope to finish them up in the next day or so - so check back! Thursday I went to a craft store to pick up some soy wax (to make the eco-candles from the video in the previous entry) and left the store with a "I Taught Myself How to Knit" kit and yarn too. Yeah, no joke. It was a random impulse purchase. Why not learn a skill to become a more well rounded individual? So in between the 3 fun BBQs we went to this weekend I sat around and taught myself how to knit. Needless to say the soy wax was left untouched. Well, the instructions and 2D diagrams only took me so far... I almost gave up the idea of this new hobby until I searched YouTube for some instructional videos - jackpot! YouTube to the rescue! I had an ah-ha moment (thanks to a nice highly skilled knitter in Finland) and got back to work. I made myself a fabulous imperfect face cloth in a checkered pattern (of knit and purl stitches for those knitters out there). I briefly thought of posting a picture... but being my first attempt to knit something, it's a little embarrassing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

DIY EcoCandles

I had to share this video I came across for making your own candles. I haven't tried this yet, but after learning the health impacts and air quality concerns of burning petroleum based (paraffin) candles - I'm ready to ditch my old candles and try something new. If I get around to making some myself I will be sure to post a picture!

Waste-Free Lunches

Now that I'm eating clean and going green, I've become more conscientious of what is going into my "lunch box" each day. Not only am I more concerned about the nutritional content of my food, but of the amount of packaging as well (it's all because of the domino effect).

Just six months ago a packed lunch and snacks for me would be something like this,
  • Lean Cuisine or leftovers in a plastic #7 container
  • plastic baggy of baby carrots
  • plastic baggy of grapes
  • flavored yogurt in single cup packaging
  • granola bar
  • plastic fork (for the times I forgot to bring a stainless steel one)
  • paper napkin
I can't believe I mindlessly produced this much waste! Not to mention the processed food packed with ingredients I can't recognize or pronounce... My lunch box, or rather my cooler (carrying 3-4 meals is more than just lunch) has completely transformed over the last few months. I now bring meals/leftovers to be heated in glass containers vs. plastic #7 polycarbonate containers that contain BPA. I pack veggies, fruit, and homemade trail mix in #5 plastic (BPA-free) containers vs. disposable plastic baggies. I also keep a set of flatware in my desk at work, and take a cloth napkin (kitchen washcloths work great too) that can be used a few times before bringing back home to be washed. My husband is doing all this too.

We also make a point not to buy single serving packaged foods. We buy in bulk and then pack them for our coolers in reusable containers to reduce the amount of packaging and waste. These simple changes in the way we pack our "lunch boxes" are easy to make, and have great benefits. We are greatly reducing our consumer waste, and by not eating pre-packaged processed foods we are eating healthier, more nutritious meals! It may not seem like waste-free lunches would make such an impact, until you look at the big picture... The next time you pack your lunch, or lunch for your kids, think about how many people bring lunch to your work, and how many kids bring lunch to school every day... Chew on this from,
"It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school."
Packing a waste-free lunch is also more economical. The cost of all those disposable items add up! For more information and number crunching check out Also, Laptop Lunches has great ideas for reusable lunch box containers. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Glitch = Goodies

A few days after I blogged about renewable energy, I received another newsletter email from Green Mountain Energy with my updated CO2 offset numbers... the numbers were drastically different, and lower, than my last report showed (from February)! I emailed the company with the offset numbers from the previous newsletter and asked why the numbers were so different. I heard back from them the very next morning. Tony, a manager apologized for the confusion and let me know that my question/concern was passed along to the environmental department. A couple of hours later I was contacted again by the same manager, letting me know their analyst was out of town and wouldn't be back until early the next (this) week. I replied that I wasn't in a hurry to get the numbers, I just wanted to know. I heard back from them on Tuesday with new updated offset numbers (that closely matched the ones from February), and verification that I was on the 100% wind energy plan. However, my trees planted number was off. Apparently I pointed out a glitch in the system that they are now looking into and trying to fix. Here are my new updated numbers:
  • Pounds of CO2 avoided = 84,651
  • Trees planted = 5,084
  • Miles not driven = 94,057
I have to say, I'm impressed with Green Mountain Energy. I heard back from them promptly, and the manager was friendly and professional. I was thanked multiple times for supporting their company and using renewable energy. Also, they sent me the goodies pictured above along with a thank you card. I was even asked what type of shirt I wanted, and was sent a ladies cut shirt that actually fits! I will be wearing my shirt... after this experience I'm an even bigger supporter of the company.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Power by the KW Hour

My husband has a new toy... a Kill a Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. He is gleefully testing every appliance and gadget in the house to get an idea of how much energy our stuff uses - while active and in standby. We're hoping to determine how much phantom energy our house uses and eliminate the vampires. He's collecting all this information in a spreadsheet to crunch the numbers (maybe I can get him to do a guest blog about the results).

If you're curious, the picture is of the monitor after our little "beer fridge" was plugged in - 22 hours and 12 minutes later it used a total of 0.47 KWH.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"How To" Produce Wash

It's no secret that the produce brought home from grocery stores are loaded with pesticides. Even organic produce have some pesticides. Veggies and fruit should be washed before eating, and sadly scrubbing them with water doesn't cut it. Here's a list of the most and least contaminated produce,
You can buy produce washes at grocery stores, but a much cheaper and likely safer option is to make your own. Plus, you can reuse the same plastic spray bottle for your homemade produce wash rather than buying a new one each time. Below is a recipe (also see video) from Sophie Uliano, the author of Gorgeously Green.

Produce Wash:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 3-4 drops of grapefruit seed extract

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Row Boat

Want to live vicariously through someone on an adventure? Roz Savage used to work in a cube farm, until one day she decided to row a boat - alone - across oceans! In 2005-6 she crossed the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the first woman to cross it alone. Right now she is on day number 24 of rowing across the Pacific Ocean, and is blogging daily to share the experience. She is also using MarineTrack to track her location which you can view real time on her blog (pretty cool). Her voyage will be in 3 stages over the next 3 years rowing from San Francisco to Australia for a total distance of 7,600 miles!

Roz rows to raise awareness of environmental issues. Her row is a project for a US based nonprofit Blue Frontier Campaign, and she is also an ambassador for the UK based charity called The BLUE Project. Check them out and make a BLUE pledge (another Ocean Day event I missed)!

I've added Roz's blog to my blog list on this page. This summer I will be following her journey across the Pacific as well as JUNK sailing from California to Hawaii while I'm spending my days in a cube farm... day dreaming of being on the open sea.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Eat Clean

I keep getting asked about what "diet" I'm following and what exactly eating clean is all about... Well, here is a short video of Tosca Reno, the author, explaining it herself!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Premiering tomorrow night (Sunday) on Planet Green is a docu-series called Greensburg. This series tells the story of how Greensburg, Kansas was destroyed by an EF5 tornado on May 4, 2007, and how they are rebuilding their entire community green. I've been waiting for this series to begin since I first saw the trailer a couple of months ago. You can view the trailer for the docu-series here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Battle of Detergents

In our effort to rid our household of toxins, and use cleaners gentle on the Earth, we have started experimenting with more eco-friendly products. My first lesson was that just because a product says it's Earth friendly, doesn't always mean much. Consumers need to read the labels, learn the ingredients, and follow the printed instructions... but I'll save that rant for another post. Moving on to the comparison... The battle of the green automatic dishwasher detergents - Seventh Generation vs. Shaklee's Get Clean (as shown in the picture, click to enlarge). Just by looking at the packaging I'm more impressed with Get Clean because it is a refillable plastic container. The concentrated detergent is sold in a separate plastic pouch (ugh plastic), but in the end it's less packaging.

We first tried Seventh Generation (SG) Automatic Dishwashing Gel because it is a highly praised brand for being green, and it was available at our grocery store. We followed the directions closely, and experimented with various amounts of detergent by filling the dishwasher's detergent holder 1/2 full, then completely full, then 1/3 full, then 1/4 full. The results each time were disappointing and unacceptable. Even though we pre-rinsed and scrubbed all the dishes, they would come out of the dishwasher DIRTY, with little remains of food on them, and a film of detergent. Each time we ended up having to wash them by hand, or rewash the entire load... I felt like what was the point of using a green detergent if you have to waste so much water to get the job done?! In the defense of SG, I do think it may have to do with our water... I read several reviews from people who swore the product worked well. We have hard water, this may work better for people with softer water.

The second product we've tried is Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate. I first heard of this brand when Dr. Oz raved about it on Oprah (yeah, yeah), then I stumbled across it on the internet around Earth Day. It has to be ordered from a distributor (which I'm considering becoming one) and seems expensive, however all their products are highly concentrated so they last a long time (H2 seemingly forever), and the packaging is much less because you add the water. In the end the cost balances out and is comparable. OK, so to get back to the comparison... The instructions call for 2 scoops (it comes with a tiny scoop that holds less than 1 Tbsp), but 4 scoops for hard water. For the first load I tried 3 scoops. I was a little nervous that we would find dirty dishes again, but no, the dishes came out squeaky clean!! We were very impressed. The next load we used the recommended 2 scoops, and again they came out shiny and clean!

Now lets compare the ingredients. Both brands have no chlorine or phosphates (which are harmful to the environment) and are made of biodegradable ingredients. Here's the details taken right from the labels:
  • Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel
    • Ingredients: Cleaning agents (non-toxic acrylic polymers and alkoxylated linear alcohol, a biodegradable, low sudsing surfactant for cleaning, dispersant action, and water spot prevention), Water softeners for enhanced performance (soda ash and sodium citrate), Dishwasher and china protection agent (sodium silicate), Viscosity control agent (xanthan gum), Fragrance (lemon), Preservative (less than 0.05%). [whew that is one wordy ingredient list]
    • CAUTION: Keep out of reach of children. In case of eye contact, flush with water for at least 15 minutes. If swallowed, drink a glassful of water.
  • Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate -
    • Patented phosphate-free formula (meaning not all ingredients are disclosed). Power enzyme-activated cleaner removes tough stains, leaving dishes and glasses sparkling clean.
    • CAUTION: Concentrate causes eye and skin irritation. Avoid eye and prolonged skin contact. Wash thoroughly after handling. Harmful if swallowed. Do not taste or swallow. Contains sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash). FIRST AID: EYES: Flush eyes with water for 10-15 minutes. If irritation persists, contact a physician. SKIN: Rinse with plenty of water. IF SWALLOWED: Give a cupful of water or milk and immediately call poison center or physician. Keep out of reach of children.
In conclusion - though the Seventh Generation detergent is non-toxic, I'll take the Shaklee Get Clean to have squeaky clean dishes and be careful to keep it out of the hands of children!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Your Intention Creates Your Reality

I am lucky to have a group of girl friends that I chat with almost every day on a group site. We've been chatting for years... discussing just about every topic imaginable, from our personal lives (daily highs and lows, families, health, and careers) to politics and the environment. We all have different perspectives and ways of thinking, but we all appreciate each other's opinions and viewpoints - which makes the discussions so valuable. A couple of days ago, one of my friends shared a quote that I've been thinking about ever since,
"Your intention creates your reality."
The definition of the word intention (noun) from is,
  1. An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
  2. The end or object intended; purpose.
Also listed is the definition according to the American Heritage Dictionary,
  1. A course of action that one intends to follow.
  2. An aim that guides action; an objective.
I googled the quote to find the author and found it along with this -
"The secret to changing your life is in your intentions. Wishing, hoping and goal setting cannot accomplish change without intention. What is needed is a shift from the inert energy of wanting to the active energy of doing and intention. Realize that all of your accomplishments, even those of which you are not so proud, have come about as a result of your intentions. Your relationships are a reflection of what you have created with your intentions. Your financial picture is the result of your intentions. When you know that you're in charge of your intentions, that they originate with you, then you will also come to know that you are in charge of your entire world and always have been."
~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
This rings true for me. I have so many intentions (living healthier, being kind to the Earth, strengthening my relationships, etc.), the secret is mentally determining how to get to the end result, and taking action. Just something to ponder... I'd love to hear your comments!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So what do you get with 15,000 plastic bottles and an old Cessna 310?

A sailboat. Yeah, really. On June 1st, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal set sail from Southern California aboard JUNK to raise awareness about plastic in the oceans. They are sailing to Hawaii literally on a craft made of junk, with no motor, and they expect it will take ~ 6-7 weeks. You can read more about how the sailboat was constructed and follow their journey on their blog at (also linked under this page's blog list).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Live Like You Love the Ocean

Yesterday, June 8th was World Ocean Day. I'm disappointed that I missed it, and didn't have the opportunity to blog about it on the actual day. Those that know me personally know how much I love the ocean. I love being on the water, or even better underneath SCUBA diving. By nature, I am an observer and love to hover and watch (avoid touching at all costs) marine life in their habitat. I am always fascinated by the behavior of different species and how they interact - this goes with animals on land and water.

A handful of scientists are researching one of several gyres in the ocean called the "ever expanding" Great Pacific Garbage Patch (more like a bowl of plastic soup, reported to be twice the size of Texas or larger). Here they have found six pounds of plastic for every pound of algae. Considering that the ocean determines our food, and our climate... this is devastating. According to the U.S. Commission of Ocean Policy, 80% of plastic in the ocean is not from ships but from land. The improper disposal of consumer waste eventually travels from beaches and rivers to the ocean... to be pulled by currents and accumulate in ocean gyres. So... what can we do? I think Wallace J. Nichols, a senior scientist at the Ocean Conservatory said it best - "live like you love the ocean." Simply put less in, take less out, and protect the edge.

To commemorate World Ocean Day, people were challenged to make June 8th a day without plastic. I'm glad to say that without even realizing that it was WOD - I did it... I used my Klean Kanteen water bottle, my new reusable cotton produce bags (see my previous post), and my totes. Even though World Ocean Day for 2008 has passed, I challenge you to make your own "day without plastic" day. Then tell me about it!

For a list of articles about the impacts of plastic in our lakes and oceans click here. The article that brought the significance of this issue to my awareness is called Plastic Ocean, by Susan Casey.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Tonight we went grocery shopping... Number of plastic bags we brought home? ZERO. Whooohoo! We used our new reusable cotton produce bags for the first time, and they worked great. The cashier was able to read the produce numbers through the cotton, and he didn't seem flustered by it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

NASA's 50th Anniversary

NASA is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year by sharing mission film footage (now in HD) collected over the past 50 years. The 6 part series, called When We Left Earth will be aired in 2 hour increments over the next 3 Sundays, beginning tomorrow June 8th. This article discusses how the film was brought out of storage and restored to make the series.

Check out the trailer for the series, it gave me goose bumps!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Where does your energy come from?

Or maybe I should rephrase the title to say - do you know what kind of energy you're paying for? I DO! I'm proud to say that for the last 6 years I have been a customer of Green Mountain Energy, where the energy I (now we) purchase comes from wind energy sources. I wish I could say that the energy our house uses comes directly from the wind source, but that's not how it works. The clean energy we purchase is added to our region's power grid, displacing the equivalent amount of power coming from more polluting and nonrenewable sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

My bill from Green Mountain Energy is one bill that I actually READ. Though it can be painful to read in the summer (when it's more expensive because of running the air conditioning more often), every month it tells me how much CO2 emissions (pollution) we've offset by choosing clean energy. My household's totals for the past 6 years are :
  • Pounds of CO2 avoided = 80,270
  • Trees planted = 5,460
  • Miles not driven = 86,414
How incredible is that?! I have to say it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that in some small way, I have made a difference. Green Mountain used to only be available to a handful of states, but I just checked so that I could list them here, and now they are available nation wide! To read more about Green Mountain Energy's commitment to the environment, and how they are walking the talk click here.

Another great source of information is the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Green Power Network. Check it out!

Commercial for Planet Green cracks me up!

Tommy Lee and Ludacris have it out over being green.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Planet Green Network launches TODAY!

The Planet Green Network is launching today, replacing the Discovery Health channel (UPDATE - Planet Green is a new channel, not replacing DHealth, 286/GRN on DirecTV). I love how the trend of going green has reached the point of demanding a TV channel offering 24/7 programming dedicated to being GREEN. I'm so excited for this channel, as I was able to see a few sneak peaks of the programs that were shown on sister networks. Details of the TV shows that will be aired on Planet Green can be found on their website which I listed in the helpful links section of this blog, or click here to see the list.

The shows I'm looking forward to most, and plan to set my TiVo to record (TiVo is by far my favorite gadget) are Greensburg and Greenovate. But there are several shows I'm interested in watching... and what better timing than during the summer when all the other shows are reruns?!

Check it out, let me know what you think, and if you find a new favorite show.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bag the Bag

The one small change that everyone can make to help the environment is to stop using plastic bags. We are finally into the habit of taking tote bags to stores... and really, I have no idea why we didn't start doing this YEARS ago! The totes carry 3-4 times as much as 1 plastic bag which means we only have to take 1 (sometimes 2) trips from the car to the kitchen! It rocks. Plus, we don't have a huge bag of saved plastic bags taking over our pantry anymore.

I just ordered some reusable produce bags that I recently discovered. They are super light weight cotton that can be washed and reused for produce, bulk grains, and nuts. Since they are cheaper the more you buy I asked around and ordered some for my friends too. I'm so excited because we finally don't have plastic store bags coming into the house anymore (we're getting better at actually remembering to use our totes), and NOW we have a solution for all the crappy thin plastic produce bags. I can't wait to start using them!

Check out this video hosted by Edward Norton.

Need some more convincing? Take a look at the facts here. Seriously, no more excuses... bag the bag. Thankfully, many stores sell their own reusable bags now. Here are some links for where you can find reusable bags online: (super cute but pricey)

I can go on and on about the impact plastic has to our planet, and our own health... but I will save that for another post!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Go for Bulk

I love the look of classic glass jars filled with spices and grains. I have admired a friend mine's drawer full of spices in little labeled containers for the longest time (3 years!), and intended to make a spice drawer of my own. Well I finally found jars that I like and decided to actually get the project done. I purchased spice jars as well as a range of other sized jars, and put my label maker to use! I'm so excited! I can now buy spices in bulk and not have to buy containers each time and waste all the packaging - and it's literally pennies for the amount of spices you get in one of those jars that you buy for $2-3. We've had a spice drawer for a while but it was stuffed with those McCormick bottles that had to lie on their sides. Now my spice jars are easy to read and get to, no searching and picking through the drawer! Here's a picture of my finished project (click to enlarge).

Now that we've gone all natural with our foods, I also purchased a bunch of glass containers to hold all our grains (labeled of course, I heart my label maker!) - rolled oats, steel cut oats, cream of wheat, whole wheat couscous, brown rice, raw nuts, etc.. We have containers of pasta (whole grain of course) on our counter top, and then the rest in the pantry. I imagine having them all lined up on shelf in our dream kitchen.

Buy in bulk to save money and the environment!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eating Clean and the Domino Effect

So all the sudden it seems I'm making a bunch of changes at home… I've cleared out my pantry and refridgerator of processed foods, I'm limiting the amount of plastic I use and purchase, getting rid of toxins from our house, and slowly going "green". Why all these changes now? It all started with my husband and I learning about clean eating, and then it was like a domino effect to the rest of our lives. I've started this blog to share how I'm making small changes to be more eco-friendly, and live a healthier lifestyle.

A couple of months ago (April 2008) I was browsing the internet and came across a message board thread of people discussing how they were changing their eating habits to "Eat Clean" and how great they were feeling. After digging in some more, I discovered they were following The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. I hoffed at the idea of a fad DIET, but the more I read the more curious I became and eventually went to the website, Tosca Rena's website, and then looked up the book on Amazon. After reading multiple reviews and descriptions of this "diet" I learned that this in fact was not a fad diet (unfortunately the cover of the book makes it seem like one) but is a way of eating for a healthy lifestyle. Less than a week later I purchased her book, along with The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook, also by Tosca Reno.

The Eat Clean Diet is nothing new - athletes have been following this type of diet for decades to stay lean and healthy. Tosca Reno has just presented it in a way that speaks to ordinary people. So I know you're all asking - what the heck is Clean Eating? It is simply consuming food in it's most natural state (or as close as possible) in order to become healthy and lean. Here are the basic principles:

  • 80/10/10 (this is straight from Tosca Reno's book). Your ideal body is 80% nutrition, 10% training/exercise, and 10% genes. You WILL NOT achieve the body you want if you don't feed it what it needs, when it needs it.
  • Eat 5-6 meals a day (every 2-3 hours) in order to keep your metabolism revved and your blood sugar levels steady.
  • Consume lean protein at every meal (20-25g): chicken breasts; turkey; fish; lean cuts of pork and beef; bison; tofu; fat free dairy; whey or soy protein.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates with your protein, this includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The balance of proteins and carbs at each meal is the key. The energy it takes to process the combination of these foods comes from stored body fat.
  • Eat good fats everyday. Fats that come from fish (salmon, tuna), nuts, nut butter, flaxseed, and healthy oils are all excellent sources of Omega 3's and Omega 6's.
  • Drink lots of water, 8-10 cups, every day
  • Eliminate (avoid as much as possible) overly processed foods, refined flour and sugar, saturated and trans fats.

I have to say, I love this way of eating. I feel great, I'm seeing changes in my body composition (loosing body fat %), and I have more energy! My husband is having great results too! It simply WORKS. This way of eating takes some getting used to mainly because it's essential to plan your meals (weekly and daily), but it is so worth it. The best part is, I've never felt deprived of anything. I'm eating so much food my body doesn't have time for cravings. My husband had a hard time giving up his usual nightly dessert of ice cream. But once he got over his body's addiction to sugar, and the habit of the dessert ritual, he stopped craving it. We now use natural sweeteners rather than sugar, like honey, agave, and stevia.

Here are some sources for more information:

Eat Clean Diet
Clean Eating Magazine
Whole Foods