Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little birdy told me...

...a little secret to save some money! I was hanging out with the fab. sensiblekitty last night and her sweet beau and they let me in on a little save-money secret. We were eating some rice and fresh veggies that they had gotten from my fav. Greenlife.

(Source: flickr.)

Mentioning how good the veggies were, they told me they had actually gotten them from the store's salad bar. And that's how they save money...instead of paying ridiculous amounts of moolah on the organic veggies there, they just get them from the salad bar. They got three servings full of red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and broccoli for just three dollars! And not only were they so much cheaper, but they were also already all cut up - no slicing and dicing here (unless you count that they were slicing and dicing time!).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Save, Reuse, & Improve

So I figured it was time to get off my "gorgeously green" kick for an entry and share some simple but creative ideas and projects for the week.
My mum, the one and only "Martha Stewart of France" has been working on a new project this week. She saw this in a magazine and absolutely loved the idea of turning old & cheap silverware holders into jewelry boxes to hang on a wall. get creative with it, paint it, collage the inside (Lucienne used some extra wallpaper she had)...add the hooks where you want them, she is going to add some chicken wire for the top part as a way of holding her earrings.
Results (& still unfinished)=

I was cleaning my room yesterday, and decided it was time to do something about all of these books, cell phone & charger, glasses of water....laying all around my bed.... things that should be on a night stand or in a shelf by my bed.Now, these items are in this empty wooden wine crate I found laying in the garage that is now my nightstand/shelf.
save and reuse & improve. why not paint it to match your decor? something I may just do to mine..

and last but not least, if you're in the mood for making your own furniture and are looking for some simple but modern plans & ideas. I found this great website through Apartment Therapy. This offers furniture building plans for a very small fee (4 to 5 dollars at the most)...So if you're looking for a weekend project and a new coffee table..this is the site to visit. PlanCanvas

ps. I will be MIA for the next week. on vacation

Friday, July 18, 2008

more projects

So, I haven't completed all the projects I've been wanting to. But, oh well. Another day, another project.;)

As of right now, at this current moment, I'm thinking about:
-Finishing our orange juice so I can put the liter bottle in my toilet tank. Gorgeously Green Sophie Uliano has a video of doing this. It's actually a method to use if you have an old toilet and you want to conserve water usage.

(Uliano's website is a great source for new ideas for projects of the week.)

-Write a page a day for a book I want to create/write about how to go green: affordably, creatively, and sustainably. ;)
-Put up our clothesline so we can air dry clothes.
-Finish that insufferable cork board. Seriously, how long does it take a girl cut up a bunch of halved corks and glue them to a hard base? Ridiculous.
-Get the perfect ice cream maker and make some home-made ice cream and sorbet. It's perfect because it doesn't use electricity. Exciting!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

the perfect ice cream maker

Ok, this might be a bit of over-kill, but I knew I just had to post this when I saw it. It's a non-electric ice cream maker! I've been looking for the best ice cream maker around recently because I've been obsessed with trying out new recipes and making food from scratch. And, oh-my-gosh, I just couldn't believe my eyes, when I found this ice cream maker:

It looks like something your cat would play with, but instead the shape of the maker is intended to help you make the ice cream. And where else did I find this nifty object, but at Bed Bath and Beyond! Score one for the big box stores! [I can't believe just said that;).] Actually, I found it through thenest, because for some reason I think I'm married, when I'm far from it at this point. Anyways, this ice cream maker is at the top of my list to get now, and it should be on yours too if you like to make food and save money! :)

eco-site of the day

I found this eco-minded site a couple of days ago and ever since then I've been meaning to write about it. The Lazy Environmentalist is a practical blog about living a easy and convenient green life. I have to admit that he does not exactly follow my way of life in green pursuits and living, but I do blame him or chastise him for this. (For example, one of his posts encourages shopping at Wal-Mart for cheap and earth-friendly products. And while I LOVE saving money, I abhor Wal-Mart. Even though they are jumping on the green wagon, they are still far from getting my approval on their union and worker's rights standards. But I digress.)

(Blogger Josh Dorfman also has a radio show based on the same ideas of his blog.)

One of my favorite things about his blog is that everything is simple and easy to read. And he has had some great links on the blog. I have found many other interesting green-related sites and blogs through the Lazy Environmentalist. So if you're looking for more ideas to save the world and save some money, head over to the Lazy Environmentalist, and you might learn a thing to two.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A daily beauty routine full of chemicals? no more please.

I've made a list *alphabetically organized* of all of the chemicals listed in the book I am currently reading (read earlier post titled Gorgeously Green). I made this list because after reviewing all of my beauty products I have been using ever since I can remember...I have had multiple headaches and nearly given up trying to find which are unhealthy and which chemical names just sound deadly but are safe.

A. there are too many chemicals listed *don't know where to start!
B. Sometimes the print is tiny
C. simply looks like another language to me.

Anyways by having made the alphabetical list of the filthiness we use on a daily is much much easier to look up a chemical.

ALSO This website is your FRIEND:
Cosmetic Safety Database by Environmental Working Group
Simply type the name of a product you are looking for.
You will be able to find out just how safe your product is.

Also, my mom and I are currently making a list of common brand products that are safe to use (which I will share with you soon), -money does not have to be an issue when switching to safe products. Be careful for some of our most trusted brands are misleading (sometimes those really expensive products that we love and hate for they empty our wallets are very very very bad for does not mean quality).Also one product from a brand may contain several red listed chemicals and another product from that same brand could be very safe to use. The packaging- Don't trust it. the words NATURAL, or a green bottle with lots of flowers and trees on it or the word organic written somewhere does not mean "hey, this product is okay!".. The truth to a product is in its ingredient list. Share this list with others, be aware that there are probably other chemicals that are dangerous so be sure to check out the Enviromental Working Group website and check on your products.
Good luck!

Be Wary of These Filthy Concoctions in Your Beauty Products

Red - High Alert

Orange- These chemicals can create a formation of carcinogenic chemicals called Nitrosamines.

* -Parabens (Chemical preservatives, estrogenic & disruptive to normal hormone function, increase of breast cancer.

+ -Phthalates (Synthetic chemicals can cause birth defects, productive impairment, hormone mimicking chemicals often hidden under “fragrance”.

# - Formaldehyde- Producing Preservatives, can cause joint discomfort, chest pains, chronic fatigue, these are cellular toxins.

**- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) may cause contact dermatitis, used as preservatives.

~ - Cationic Surfactants (found in hair conditioners) allergenic & toxic

! – Silicone Derived Emollients, coat your skin like plastic wrap, can accumulate in your live/lymph nodes promoting tumor growth.

  • Alcohol
  • Aluminum
  • Acrylates
  • Benzalkonium Chloride**, ~
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Butyl- *
  • Carbomer 934, 940, 941, 960, 961C
  • Cetalkonium Chloride ~
  • Cetrimonium Bromide**
  • Cetrimonium Chloride ~
  • Coal Tar
  • Cocamide DEH
  • Cyclomethicone!
  • Diazolidinyl Urea#
  • Dibutyl + (Banned in Europe, why not the US?)
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • Diethylhexyl+ (Banned in Europe)
  • Dimethicone!
  • Dimethicone Copolyol!
  • Ethyl- *
  • Fragrance+
  • Hydantoin #
  • Hydroquinone
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea#
  • Isobutyl-*
  • Isopropyl (SD-40)
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Lauryl Dimonium Hydrolyzed Collagen ~
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Methacrylates
  • Methyl- *
  • Mineral Oils (Petroleum, Liquid Paraffin, Petroleum jelly)
  • Phenonip
  • Phenoxyethanol*
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
  • P-Phenylenediamine
  • Propyl- *
  • Proyl-*
  • Quaternium-15 & 1-29 **
  • Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Stearalkonium Chloride ~
  • Talc
  • Tocopherol Acetate
  • Triclosan
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)

Monday, July 14, 2008

#4, for Sustainable Living

I hope you're not reading this as you're getting ready to head to bed, but, honestly, we really need to talk about a certain nasty little monster in your home. He's the one that silently and secretly shoots your electricity bills through the roof. He's the one that slowly sucks all the energy out of you and your home. He's the...NO! Not him! Yes, he's the dreaded vampire energy sucker. (cue the "dun, dun, dun...")

(Seem familiar? [Photo courtesy of snowdaisy.] )

Yes, boys and girls I'm talking about that vampire, who is so subtle, some might also call him a phantom. The vampire energy sucker sips the energy from your home by continuing to use electricity when you don't unplug your electronics. We all already know that we should turn off the lights in a room that we're no longer using. But what hasn't been as widely spread is that we should be unplugging our electronics when we're not using them. Most electronics will still use energy even after you turn them off. These sort of electronics are your: microwave, tv, phone charger, laptop charger, lamps, fans, stereo, and other various appliances.

There used to be this thing that was said that basically encouraged people to not turn off their lights. This thought process with this thing was that it would take more energy (electricity) turning your lights on and off over and over again than it would if you turned off your lights at the end of the day. But over the years, studies have shown this little suspicion is incorrect.

The moral of the story, kids, is: unplug anything (that's reasonably within reach) after you use it! Do this especially with your electronics! I do this with everything that I can reach!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A DisneyWorld Surprise

My friends and I went to Disney World while we were in Florida last week. One of the friends has a brother who lives in Orlando and works at Disney. Since he works there, he is able to get guests free tickets to the parks. And how can you pass up a chance to get into Disney free? So we went to the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). While we were in the Animal Kingdom, what did I find to my surprise? Nothing but formidable efforts on Disney's part to jump on the green wagon!

(The Kilimanjaro Safari ride in the Animal Kingdom; very sustainable I'm sure...)

While having a mid-morning snack with my ladies, we noticed we were sipping our tasty carbonated beverage out of a
paper straw. Yes, a paper straw! I had never seen this before, or even heard of it. And then I looked around and began to notice other efforts the park was making. Such as, both trash receptacles and recycling containers and non-bleached and 100% post-consumer waste napkins. Unfortunately, it seem these efforts were only being made in this park. Hollywood Studios did not reflect the same theme in their straws or napkins. When I went online to Disney World's website later on I couldn't find anything about their green efforts. I would have thought they would have had some kind of mission statement somewhere about it, but alas, there is none I can find. But I think, well, at least they're making some effort to become more sustainable and green...but I'm sure they're a long, long way from being remotely sustainable.

C for effort, Disney Word, C for effort...


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Gorgeously Green" update

I have just received a book, from very thoughtful family friends, for my birthday, and this gift is about to make a drastic change in the way I live my life. "Gorgeously Green" written by Sophie Uliano is my new guide to living an earth-friendly life. After only reading the first twenty pages, I am addicted to this book and well on my way to making a huge modification in my "beauty" routine.
This book has an 8 simple step program to living a more sustainable life. I have just completed the first step and am currently taking on the second....changing my beauty routine (and oh my..does it need modifications).
I figured that since...Am and I are keeping this blog for finding ways to live a more sustainable, affordable (which isn't always the case in Uliano's book ), green, and creative only makes sense for me to share with you my transformation into living such a life, and believe me I have a long ways to go (but I am far from discouraged).

In the first step, Sophie introduces us to the concept of what it means to be green....blah blah blah This part was a wee bit long, but the most interesting part of this step is the survey at the end of the chapter. The gorgeously green lifestyle checklist, this was quite the eye opener for I must have checked only 10 of the 70 statements...meaning I have much much to learn and change when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle.
and I to think that I was doing pretty good when it comes to recycling or just being environmentally conscious...
until this checklist...
The purpose of this checklist eye opener. At the end of the book once I have gone through all of the steps hopefully I will be closer to checking off 60 or more of those statements.
take a similar quiz here. Gorgeously Green Quiz

And now I am currently confronting the next step. My beauty routine.
According to this book, women spend an average of four hundred, I repeat, 400, hours a year on their beauty routine (this is ridik!). in other words...we spend 400 hours a year...rubbing chemicals on our hair, skin, lips, nails, and bodies... just imagine after 20 years of doing that...or more!?
but it gets even more scary. we find these toxic chemicals including coal tar, fragrance, hydroquinone, aluminum, triclosan, P-Phenylenediamine, Lead & Mercury, Cocamide DEH, Lauramide DEA, Cocamide MFA, Triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (Dea)...and many more. in MOST of our beauty products.

some of those chemicals listed above are carcinogens, neurotoxins, allergenic, toxic, mutagenic, disruptions to our endocrine system, causing reproductive & developmental harm, weakening our immune system, decreasing fertility, causing birth defects, lung irritation........etc * sigh

and really until reading the first few pages of this chapter, I really just never took the time to think about the potential of these chemicals on our bodies. I guess in my mind...I just thought...surely these products have been tested and high regulations have to be met for beauty products that we use EVERYDAY. I mean i'd heard of the aluminum in deodorants..and other chemicals...but I just...really I just chose to neglect this problem in hopes...that surely this is under control and a priority of government regulations on beauty products.


...tomorrow I am going to set all of my beauty products, and mitch's (he doesn't know this yet), and my mom & dad's on a table. I am going to use a magnifying glass and set aside those products with these chemicals to be thrown away and never used again (and I will list them on this blog). others to be questioned...will be researched. and others at least some (hopefully) will be usable & safe!

this will be an interesting day and I will give an alarming update of my progress on this quest to safer & *real* natural beauty products.

For more on the chemicals of beauty products, food, and other aspects of our environment The Enviromental Working Group is full of useful information. (also a source in her book).

Give it some thought...what chemicals do you rub on your skin that are directly absorbed into your bloodstream...on a daily basis?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Enviro-Art: Introducing...Chris Jordan

Cell phones #2 (Intolerable Beauty), Atlanta 2005 44 x 90"

I discovered this artist while reading The Eco-Art blog. (wonderful blog) do check it out. I was immediately intrigued with his lecture and blown away by his work and again reminded of an issue we often forget. We are mass's hard to realize how much we waste as a nation in just one day... and statistics get lost among pools of other numbers and facts. But Digital Photographer, Chris Jordan, effectively captures these statistics within multiple series of photographs including "Running the Numbers- An American Self-Portrait", " Intolerable Beauty- Portraits of American Mass Consumption" and another series titled "In Katrina's Wake- A Portrait of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster". I encourage all readers to check out his work and artist statement on these series/exhibits at

And view this artist lecture...You might even say..." gosh" out loud after viewing this lecture. I did. -Lu-

and yes...he does kind of look like Charlie Sheen.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Floridiot Trip

Hey everyone, Am here. And I'm reporting from Savannah, Georgia. I've been in Florida this past week with a couple of friends of mine and we've been sightseeing/relaxing like some mad women. The one, and only, bad part of this trip has been the extreme lack of internet access. And now, finally, for the second time on this trip, I am able to gain some internet access. And instead of catching up on the work that I'm scarily behind on, I am writing a post on here. :)

There have been a couple of interesting finds while in Florida. And really they were found in some of the most surprising places. Now that I've whetted your appetites, I'll let you linger on those thoughts while I let you know about one of the things I'm most proud of doing on this trip...

(I took a picture of my own, but it wouldn't load.)

This would be using my "not a paper cup" coffee cup. I got this cup after many months of guilt to being addicted to coffee and having that coffee being sadly served in non-recycle coffee cups. Coffee cups are not recycle and neither are their lids. This makes a recycle- and coffee-addict very sad. And I fortunately remembered to bring it on the trip! The cup is made of porcelain and and the lid is made of silicone. It's also very heavy-duty. Being the clutz I am, I am relieved to have this kind of cup. Perfect! So kids, the next time you're itching for a coffee fix grab your "not a paper cup" coffee cup and grab that organic coffee!
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