March 27th, Earth Hour came and went. We were glad we were able to celebrate it this year. It was actually not too hard for me to keep the lights off since I tried to keep my kids in bed by then.
For more information on how successful this event has been worldwide, please visit www.myearthhour.org.
I actually have been trying really hard to keep our family Sundays, an "unplugged" day (no TV, no lights, no radio, no internet/computers, etc.). It's been nearly impossible to go through the whole day like this, but keeping it as a goal, makes us consciously reduce our use of electricity at home on Sundays and this energy conservation behavior is trickling into the rest of the week.
I recently tried Sea Salt Goodness flavored plantain snacks from www.grabemsnacks.com
. It was a bit too salty for my taste, but the overall texture and crispiness was a great hit with my kids. www.grabemsnacks.com
offers a number of different flavored plantain snacks. We tried the Cinful Cinnamon plantain snacks. Once we overcame our own personal bias of eating cinnamon flavored plantains, we actually admit that we enjoyed eating it and finished the bag in a single setting. Their plantain snacks are gluten free and all natural.
For more information about their products, please visit www.grabemsnacks.com
Spring is finally here. We are starting our vegetable garden for this season. We decided to plant eggplants, carrots and onions. Last year was quite an adventure, I randomly decided to plant pumpkins and cantaulopes (not doing my due dligience and researching the fact that these are actually vine plants that take alot of space to grow), so we spent the bulk of last spring and summer trying to manage the vines (we wind up with two decent cantaloupes (that were devoured by some random animal before we even had a chance to harvest them).
I have my kids guess which plants will sprout first (our guess in order of sprouting were: eggplants, carrots and onions). Of course the actual sprout order wind up being onions, carrots and eggplants. It's fun to have them keep track of which will grow first (acting like mini-scientists). We hope to add to our vegetable garden list (red peppers and tomatoes). We already have broccoli and spinach (which seem to be growing like weeds).
Here is a photo of our plant nursery (we use old shoes boxes and line them with plastic bags and we also reuse the small mini plastic containers that seedings come in from the local garden store). Next to the shoe boxes, you can see we have a bucket for rainwater. It works out well, we usually get rain at least once a week.
I have a personal policy not to post photos of my family (because as a former New Yorker, you can never be too paranoid). However, I felt compelled to share this photo of my son staring out at two wild cranes outside our enclosed patio. As a former New Yorker, it still amazes me the wildlife we see in our rural town. The cranes are majestic and make a weird knotting noise (sort of like a woodpecker) when they speak. Just amazing. One cannot get enough of nature.
I've read and read several articles about the benefits of not washing my hair on a daily basis and secretly admit that it does feel healthier without the daily wash. However, the clean freak inside of me sometimes just can't help myself. Of course, it doesn't help that I have long hair and refuse to use a shower cap so if I get my hair wet in the shower, then, I might as well wash it right? In order to ensure that I do the least damage to my hair, I am always on the look out for the best haircare products (shampoos, conditioners, you name it).
I have recently tried the Evolvh Ultrashine Moisture Conditioner. This organic conditioner contains passion flower and citrus see extract. Although it is marketed as a luxury organic product. It's actually quite reasonably priced compared to other organic conditioners. My husband likes the black (no nonsense label) and admits that the scent is perfect (not too "perfume-like.") We might have finally come across a product that we both like and can use (cutting down on the number of his or her toiletry products must be an eco-friendly move in general).
For more information about their products, please visit www.evolvh.com
If you are concerned with the lack of nutritional school lunches for children, please visit the following website. This website provides updates on food related policies and also provides quick links for you to contact your respective congressmen regarding such policies.
Did you know that politicians track the number of complaints and letters related to each issue that they receive and it therefore impacts their legislative decisions. Therefore, it's crucial that you spend a few minutes to contact them so they receive numerous emails regarding this topic and will show their support in providing healthy nutritional school lunches to children. The current school lunch nutritional and health standards are so outdated that our government has updated our agricultural policies (how we feed our cattle, chicken, and other livestock) even more recently than the outdated school meal policies. This is unacceptable. Please voice your concerns today.
Please visit the following website: www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/campaign/time_for_lunch
It's taken about four months for everyone in my family to get the hang of using reusable water bottles on a consistent basis. Now I am trying to get everyone to pack and use silverware instead of using the disposable plastic dinnerware and silverware. However, it's been a real hit and miss. More often than I care to admit, my young kids wind up tossing out my silverware instead of bringing them back home. However, when we go out for a picnic at the park, I vow to pack my own dinnerware and silverware but it winds up being a pain to bring them home and wash, etc. I've discovered single use plates from www.verterra.com
Their dinnerware is 100% biodegradable and compostable. They look and feel so luxurious that it's hard to believe that they are single use and disposable. I love using them. They are sturdier than most plastic plates and they look really nice. They also come in all different shapes and sizes for your picnic or party needs. Now instead of using plastic plates and feeling guilty about discarding them, try using the Verterra.com
plates. These plates are made from fallen palm leaves and the company adheres to fair trade practices.
For more product information, please visit www.verterra.com
I recently received a gorgeous Tungsten Carbide ring. www.titaniumkay.com offers a range of gorgeous rings and jewelry made with high quality elements such as titanium and tungsten. These metals are just as strong (and gorgeous) as platinum for a fraction of the price. Something for you to keep in mind if you are shopping for jewelry for yourself or a loved one.
Why consider such metals for jewelry purchase?
First, these metals are plentiful in the environment, you do not have to be concerned with the excess amount of mining and processing that takes place with precious metals (better for the environment). Second, due to the high supply in the market compared to precious metals, their costs are reasonable. Finally, the jewelry designs and styles are impeccable and rival those of precious metal jewelry.
When purchasing jewelry consider the following eco-friendly tips:
1) Consider purchasing vintage jewelry (it's a form of recycling).
2) Consider purchasing recycled jewelry (avoids excess mining for precious metals).
3) Consider alternative metal sources such as the example from www.titaniumkay.com.
4) Consider purchasing handmade jewelry source from fair trade practices. In addition to helping those in need, it makes a great statement piece.
Finally, consider whether you are actually going to wear the piece and how often. If you need a piece for a special occasion, consider borrowing the item. Celebrities always borrow high end jewelry for major occasions and really stick with 2-3 key jewelry items for daily wear so maybe they are on to something.
Now that I started listening to music while running, I realized how clumsy I am. For some reason, I have trouble keeping the earplugs in my ear. Maybe it's the way I run or maybe I have defective ears. I'll give it another try and if it does not work, I might have to spend money and buy one of those headsets that can be more securely fastened on my head. (Not a pretty sight, but I guess it's better than constantly checking and making sure my earplugs are not falling off).
I went back to group exercise today and really loved it. I missed the company. However, I need to choose between the running versus group exercise because I don't have the time nor stamina to spend more than an hour at the gym. Maybe I can just switch back and forth?
When I think of my elementary school days, I remember having a lot of fun playing with friends. But I think my best memories to date revolve around getting new school supplies in the beginning of the school year. I've continued my passion (obsessions?) with school/office supplies when I entered the corporate world and actually secretly enjoyed when my office was moved to another location every six months or so (it was a great opportunity for me to update my office arrangements and supplies). Sometimes school supplies have such sentimental value, I came across my husband's highschool binder filled with his baseball card collection (I will upload a photo of his graffiti binder once I get my refurnished digital camera back). It's amazing that somehow this binder survived four moves. I think I'll show it to our kids when they are a bit older. www.NakedBinder.com offers 100% recycled project binders in a range of colors/sizes. These binders are also 100% recyclable. Their binders are the most eco-friendly recyclable binders in the planet since it's made of 100% post consumer materials and is also 100% recyclable. The feel/texture is reminiscent of my husband's binder. Brings back great memories. A set of four binders from www.NakedBinder.com will be randomly given away to one of the email program members by April 30th, so join the free Eco-friendlyliving.com Email program today by submitting your contact information in the "Join Free Email Program" section of this website. Please note that your complete mailing address will need to be provided in order to receive samples. Your contact information is not sold or shared to any third parties. Random giveaways are sent by the end of each month.
It was a great weekend until we managed to drop our digital camera. Now that it is busted, we need to figure out what to do. In the past, I would automatically buy a new one because technology is always improving and why pay to get it fixed when you just need to spend an extra $100 to buy a new one? Well, being more money and eco-conscious, I must admit that I don't even use all of the cool features my busted camera offers (I only use the auto/zoom/flash options when there are about 20 more features than that). So, I humbly contacted the manufacturer and found out that for $150 I can get it fixed. I dropped it off in the mail yesterday and should get it back refurnished and fixed by next week.
I'm coming to terms with my evolving self. I've been an extremist in the past from "I need to eat mac and cheese 7 days in a row to save money" to "I bought a new pair of shoes because my shoelaces broke on my old pair (really I lived on both extremes). Now I constantly ask myself, "Maybe I can afford it, but do I really need it?" This mantra has been getting me to a happy place (most days).
I'm sure I could have gotten a working second hand digital camera for less than the $150 it'll cost me to fix, but I stopped my broken camera from prematurely entering a landfill somewhere and I am also teaching my kids that it is OK to fix things instead of buying new all of the time.
So, of course, my kids take their lesson to heart and manage to glue and tape everything (literally everything) they can successfully get their hands on in attempts to "fix" them. I guess I am teaching them "how to fish (fix)."