Archive for the ‘inspire’ Category

What is a Big Green Purse? I’ll give you one! (review and giveaway)

Win a copy of BIG GREEN PURSE by DIANE MACEACHERN, just leave a comment. ( Open October 14-28 2010)

So the basis for me starting this blog was to write about my One in a Million Challenge (recently I’ve fallen a little behind on this, updates are coming…)

The One in a Million Challenge is an idea that Diane MacEachern came up where she encourages women to shift $1000 of their existing budget to environmentally friendly products.  Since women control 0.85 cents of every dollar spent, this adds up to a lot, like  ONE BILLION DOLLARS we’re talking.  That is enough money to make any manufacturer take a second look at their product and ask “how can I make this a better environmental choice?”.

Skeptical about the importance of buying eco-friendly products?

In her book, Big Green Purse, Diane explains why it’s important to choose the greener options. Diane touches on many subjects in the book, in fact pretty much anything related to living, from beauty products to cars to food.

In her chapter “CLEAN AND GREEN: CLEANSERS SCRUBS, POLISHES AND FRESHENERS”  she points out the health hazards we are facing today . For example 6.1 million kids in the U.S. have asthma, making asthma the #3 reason kids are hospitalized. She points out pretty clear links between what you use in your house on a daily basis with these risks. She then goes on to explain how to make simple easy shifts to healthier options. She makes it pretty easy too, with a thumbs down list of things to avoid, go green cleaning tips and even a where to shop guide.

Diane also has some pretty smart thoughts like “When buying a new appliance, light or computer to remember:  it has 2 price tags- what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy it uses” This book is so handy because she then goes on to list the top 10 ways to save energy and money.

It’s pretty clear that I’m a fan of the book, and that it is totally required reading for every woman, no matter where she is at on the going green scale.

One thing I did miss from the book is more info on eco-travel, a follow-up book is in order perhaps?

 

GIVEAWAY!

Want your own copy of the book? Great, cause I’m giving one away! Leave a comment and your e-mail address. Also if you feel the need to tweet or facebook or like Big green purse on facebook about this contest let me know and you’ll get 2 extra entries!!  (Open to US and Canada residents, over 18 please)

Use your big green purse

Hey, if you don’t win you should still totally pick one up. I mentioned where in my Greenie Deals post.  I love having mine around for reference!  You should also check out her big green purse website which is packed with all kinds of great info! As is the big green purse facebook page.

Worth it? Why Tide is not cool

What’s so bad about laundry detergents anyway? Why bother buying a green detergent?

A few things that are  not cool about conventional detergents:

  • Companies are not legally required to disclose all ingredients, and most choose not to.
  • Synthetic Surfactants. These suds-makers biodegrade  slowly, and will stay in our water ways for a very long time. Did I mention they are made from petroleum? They  also have a very high biological toxicity, according to an English study they have been shown to increase growth of breast cancer cells and also make boy fish more like girl fish. So weird and wrong.
  • Artificial fragrances, these are bad always, again made from petroleum, toxic effects on animals are not clear yet…
  • Optical brightners,  maybe let’s work on getting our clothes brighter without being toxic to fish.

Good news:

  • Most detergents come in concentrated versions now, because really why would we want to pay money for a bottle that is 3/4 water anyway, try to buy the detergent with the least amount of packaging.
  • Plant based surfactants ( biodegradable and safe)  are being used by greener laundry options like Method.
  • Can’t beat local and cheap! Try Down East Liquid Laundry

To skip detergent every now and then try these tips

  • Soak whites in hot water with lemons for a few hours instead of bleach (discard lemons before putting them in the washing machine)
  • Use baking soda. While I use detergent with my cloth diapers, I always through in some baking soda for a little extra kick, my sister uses only baking soda.
  • Try a recipe to make home-made laundry detergent

Funny story, In the 1960s, when surfactants began to gain in popularity detergent manufacturers  battled over who had the longest lasting suds. This led to suds  appearing in streams, rivers, lakes, and 8 feet of  strangely  colored bubbles at the foot of Niagara Falls. Was this a hint that what we use in our homes goes directly back into the environment?

Check out the other Worth it? Apples to Apples and I can’t get these diapers out of my head

Oh and by the way Green Laundry detergents are WORTH IT! I like Method free and clear detergent, my favorite part is no measuring, you just squirt it in!!

Greener Birthday Party (Take 1)

Paisley Handmade on Etsy!

Like I ‘ve explained before, going green for me is a trial and error process. I try something new, make mistakes and learn every day. This weekend my little princess B turned 3. This marked the first birthday party I would have to throw since making the switch to a greener life. Greener Birthday party, take 1:

I like to keep my kids parties pretty small if  I can, this cuts down on costs, waste and clean up!

I invited everyone via Facebook or phone so no trees were harmed. 🙂

Decorations:

I have a huge supply of balloons at my house, as you know I do have a tainted past as a shopaholic, so I  have a lot of  “random stuff ” as my husband calls it, around my house . Also I don’t care what anybody says, helium balloons are fun. Although I was quite discouraged about the non-eco friendly-ness of balloons, I came across a blog post that told me I can compost latex balloons! Fantastic! Mylar balloons however  are NOT compost able. Since I had pre-purchased these balloons months ago, it seemed crazy not to use them. I had my balloons  blown up at a dollarstore where the ribbon used was not eco-friendly.I suppose all I can do at this point is re-use what is already in my possession and try to prolong the life-cycle of the ribbon. For future reference, these eco friendly ribbons would have been a pretty cool choice! Throw in a few streamers that I already had, I suppose it’s eco-friendly if I’m not buying anything new…. Also for future reference (slap to head,WHY wasn’t I thinking!!) I should have invested a reusable banner, like this one that I found on Etsy . I like to try to keep most of the decorations in one area of the house for easier clean up at the end of the

Fairy tea paty corner

day… Other than that I pretty much just decorated with a few pillows and created a little tea party area. One eco friendly creation I made were fairy wings. I could have gone out and bought new wings for like $3 each, but I decided to recycle craft some instead. I followed the directions on this website and they turned out ok! (Keep in mind that my idea of a successful craft is one that doesn’t immediately fall apart or burst into flames…)

Food:

I could have done better here: Pizza, chips,  pop, cheesies. All a little questionable… Should have gone for organic chips or even Sun Chips with their compost-able bags. I did ok here: I did choose to make her birthday cake this year with an organic cake mix. The feedback on it was pretty good, although next time I’ll attempt to do an organic/ fair trade cake from scratch. .. Also I didn’t purchase any disposable plates or cups (I have a large supply of napkins, and since the cake was cupcakes no plates were really required). If you were interested in biodegradable party wear Go Green in Stages has all kinds of options.

Treat Bags:

For treat bags I bought a cheap purse and wallet as well as some fair trade chocolate, organic fruit snacks, bear paw cookies and a Tinkerbell comic book. I figured that these things have pretty good play value for little girls (gotta have our purses!) so at least it wasn’t a cheap toy that would just be disregarded or broken. I have given out toys like this in the past….I could have stepped it up by purchasing perhaps a bag made from organic cotton instead. I was thinking about giving out little potted flowers, but at the age of 3 this is maybe an idea for a later birthday. For a spring birthday seeds to plant might be a cool idea…

Gift:

This is one area that I think I did great at. I purchased an eco-friendly tea set, made from recycled plastic, dishwasher safe, and the only packaging left over was a recyclable box, no plastic. Instead of wrapping the gift I used a Dora gift box that I received years ago and keep reusing almost every birthday. A friend of mine hosted a birthday party last year where instead of gifts guests bought items to donate to the Humane Society. the birthday girl got to go deliver the items and see all the animals she was helping. I think that this is a fantastic idea!

This was not by any means a perfectly eco party, but it is a step in the right direction and that is my goal!

Really, I love cleaning poop!

Sometimes, I find when you do something quite    often it is easy to get discouraged and want to run out the nearest exit and scream “I quit!”.

Well once you’re a mom “quit” does not seem to be an option. You suck it up and deal.  I found myself in exactly this predicament yesterday.  I witnessed  #3 of my top 3 grosses kid-poop-related incidents.

I have recently switched over to cloth diapers and being distracted and busy the night before I left a soiled diaper on top of the pail. When I woke in the morning and staggered into my laundry room to obtain some school clothes from the dryer, I discovered IT. #3 grossest poop thing ever. 1 poopy cloth diaper with a large community of fruit flies having a conference of some kind inside. (shudder).  It was in that moment of weakness that I decided my baby’s butt was going directly into a disposable diaper. Why did I do this in the first place? I am so not a hippy.

My day went on, still in my anti-eco mind state,  after a little over a month of positive change I was going down hill. I needed some fresh inspiration.

I decided to watch the 11th Hour Documentary.

Baby’s butt is now comfortably resting in his cloth diaper.

In hopes to inspire more to hop up and make a change I am assigning everyone to watch or re-watch the 11th hour!  youtube, amazon (Canada or US),  Google your local library to see if they have it in (request they do), rent it, buy it, whatever it takes this is your assignment!  If it can snap me out of the poop-gross-out induced eco depression, it will work for you!

Other top 2 gross poop related incidents:

#2 While potty training my 2 year old girly, she had a poop on the bathroom floor. I was in my best domestic form and quickly putting laundry away when I slipped on this hidden jem on the floor. Creating skid marks across my floor and falling on my ass. Poop sock.

#1 When my oldest A, who is now 6, was about 18months I went to retrieve him from his crib after a nap. He did the old poop in diaper then remove and paint his body and crib with poop trick. Gag. It took 3 baths and  A LOT of scrubbing to deal with that one. He still makes me tell him that story from time to time and thinks that it is hilarious.

These cases aside most of the time I really don’t mind cleaning poop!

Assignment for the weekend: watch the 11th HOUR for inspiration!

P.S. Check out Fun Follow Friday

Green Your Fall Fashions 2010!

This weekend I was inspired by the 7th annual Ethical Fashion show that’s going on right now in Paris as well as this months Green Moms Carnival , hosted this month by Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse.

I wanted to come up with a few ways to squeeze eco fashion into my wardrobe right now.  FOR CHEAP.

Thrift Stores

Thrifty finds, photo courtesy of Alison DesRoches

In my opinion thrift or vintage stores may be the best tool to green your fashions. By thrift shopping you are extending the life cycle of a garment,

Samantha Pleet AW10 (Via: samanthapleet, ecouterre)

keeping it out of land fills and sometimes getting a great fashion boost for your closet! Here is one example of how a cheap thrift  store find easily compares to a Samantha Pleet design. For a very quick and cheap pick me up for your closet for fall, search  a thrift shop for  something in one of the hottest shades, textures or patterns of the season. This season look out for anything red, animal print or fur-inspired. (Do not buy real fur unless it’s at a thrift store, pretty sure that was obvious anyway…)

SWAP TEAM

Host a clothing swap, there is no faster or cheaper way to update your wardrobe than to have a clothing swap with your friends. If you’re not the same size extend the swap to shoes, jewelry and accessories. If you don’t have any friends with similar taste in fashion try joining an online swap site such as Swap Style, there is something for everyone there!

If you are a Martha Stewart wanna-be

Show your skills by  whipping up something cozy like these recycled wool mittens by Canadian designer Susan Harris.

Susan Harris Design

If you’re like me and don’t have a crafty bone in your body, check out etsy.com for all kinds of home-made and eco-friendly finds.  Like  this  earth happy scarf I came across!

You’re a hoody loving girl (like me)

I love this hoody from Nomads Hemp wear! If you happen to live in your favorite hoody, like me,  I feel like it is okay to spend a little extra for a gorgeous eco option like this one!

7 steps to a fall fashion overhaul for your closet

  • When you don’t know where to start when updating your wardrobe start by looking online at designers like Covet or in magazines (that you will recycle!) for inspiration.
  • Once you have a good idea of the look you want to achieve, first go to your closet and take stock of what you have.
  • Sort your clothes into piles of what is working for you, and what you can live without.
  • Organize a swap or sign up online to Swap Style to see first what you can get (and give) for free.
  • Check out Thrift stores or Ebay for pre-loved lower-priced pieces.
  • Buy retail eco-friendly materials for items you still absolutely need.
  • Enjoy your beautiful green wardrobe and you get to do it all over again in the Spring!!

More Ideas on how to green your fall click here.

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