Archive for the ‘ Going Green ’ Category

Holiday Gift Ideas

As someone who revels in finding the right gift for the right person at every occasion, it’s really hard to come up with a condensed list at this time of year. So, for this post, I’m going to stick with a few favorite finds and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share books & ‘gifts that give back’ with you as well. Hopefully you’ll find something for everyone and if not, let me know! Also, take a quick look at my previous gift posts as some of my earlier favorites may be just the right one you’re looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprising Statistics on Sunscreen

Pools are open in this part of the country so before the kids and I hit the water, I started to dig around about the best sunscreens for our brood. The latest information from Environmental Working Group (EWG)  unearthed troubling facts that might tempt you to give up on sunscreens altogether. That’s not the right answer – despite the unknowns about their efficacy, public health agencies still recommend using sunscreens, just not as your first line of defense against the sun.  Use sunscreens, but look for shade, wear protective clothing and avoid the noontime sun before you smear on the cream. Here are EWG’s surprising sunscreen facts:

1. There’s no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.
2. There’s some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.
3. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they’re better.
4. Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels.
5. The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.
6. Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreen. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Deals – are you missing out?

Lately I’ve gotten a few questions from friends about sites that are similar to Groupon as I don’t show up anywhere for anything without a coupon anymore. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  1. Groupon – The first one on the scene to offer great deals – sign up for other cities if you are traveling. Great app.
  2. Living Social – You can get a family or escape edition of deals in addition to their daily ones. Great app.
  3. Eversave – My latest find & I’m loving their daily deals.
  4. City Steal – Great local steals.
  5. Scout Mob – The coupon is free. If you see an offer you like, just click a button to receive the coupon via text message or e-mail. You’ll only pay when you show up – only in a few cities right now but growing!
  6. St. Louis Daily Fix – Outstanding deals at local restaurants, salons, spas and more in St. Louis.
  7. Care 2 Daily Deals – Organic, green, good-for-you, good-for-the-planet products at up to 70% off.
  8. 8 Coupons – Lists all the deals from the top sites (including Groupon, Tippr, BuyWithMe and others) & lets you search via map or zip code.
  9. Buy With Me – Like many other sites, if 3 friends buy from your referral, yours is free.
  10. Daily Candy Deals – Offers limited number of coupons so you’re not fighting with hundreds of other purchasers, but limited cities currently.
  11. Spa Finder – Only in NYC, LA, Boston, Philly & Miami

Others I’m missing? Let me know!

April 22 is Earth Day 2011

Sometimes I can overwhelm myself by focusing all my attention on ways that I’m not “green” instead of celebrating the small changes we have made. As Earth Day 2011 approaches, I thought I’d share with you the 11 ways we’ve changed:

  1. Get to know Earth911.com. Great resource for the latest in all things “green” but what we use most is their search feature that lets you type in anything you want to recycle along with your zip code and it directs you to the best place.
  2. We use Nellie’s PVS Free Dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They help clothes dry faster, aid in wrinkle & lint removal and act as a natural fabric softener.  I know, I know… we should hang clothes outside and be even greener but I’m not there yet.
  3. Educate the kids! Read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax about a creature that speaks for “the trees”, watch The Story of Stuff or borrow the DVD of Wal Mart: the high cost of low price from your local library.
  4. Support green companies. We’ve loved Bloomin for a while for their fantastic seed cards, gifts & green practices but a few weeks ago they also did their own Earth Day article that carried suggestions for ALL WAYS to reduce, reuse & recycle. Locally, here in St. Louis, check out Home Eco or the fantastic new Verde Kids.
  5. Turn off water while brushing teeth. Leaving the tap running during the recommended two minutes of brushing can waste up to five gallons of water a day.
  6. Buy local food. Join a CSA, grow your own with the help of Backdoor Harvest or frequent any of our (or your) fantastic farmer’s markets. Additionally, here in St. Louis, Local Harvest Grocery has just moved down the street into a fantastic space and is better than ever offering at least 50% of their goods from within 150 miles.
  7. Buy secondhand clothes. Read the rest of this entry

What a Waste!

Today is World Water Day which was created by the UN in 1993 to bring awareness to the global issue of water. The object of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. It’s also a great opportunity to take a personal look at how we’re using our most precious natural resource.  Did you know the average American household uses 2,000 gallons of water a day? That’s TWICE the global average.

I had blogged last summer about our crazy dependence on bottled water – ‘There’s Something in the Water‘ which provides a great list of resources to help you kick the habit. My only addition to the article would be my own new personal favorite reusable bottle made by Contigo! This fabulous bottle is BPA free, can be used with one hand (nothing to flip, unscrew or turn), fits in cup holders, and has an autoseal lid, built in carabiner clip & wide mouth for ice cubes.

To further assist you to say, ” NO to wasting H2O”, greenfeet is offering 30% off select water conservation products on their site.  Also, spend a quick minute checking out any of these sites for easy, water (and money) saving tips for your home. What are you waiting for?

Nature’s Air Freshener

This is my daughter, Sadie, reading to our plants and this explains why we have plants that thrive now as opposed to all those that I sent to an early grave before my daughter came along. But honestly, anyone can care for indoor plants and all they really need is light, water, air and soil according to Emily of Life Renewed and then let nature take its course.

Emily recently posted a simple, straight forward article called “Creating A Healthy Home with Houseplants” on green your way. The benefits include:

  1. Plants provide life & energy – Bringing plants into your home can help you to feel happier and more calm. Plants in office spaces help people to be more creative and productive.
  2. Plants increase humidity levels – Plants help to increase humidity levels and refresh the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
  3. Plants improve indoor air quality – A NASA study showed that houseplants can remove toxins (formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, ammonia, benzene, xylene, and chloroform from the air) in the air by up to 87% in just 24 hours.

Some of the best plants to grow are Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Peace Lily, Rubber Plant & Boston Fern. My advice is to toss all those “plug ins” from your walls and freshen up your space naturally. (And if you have kids, put them in charge of the watering – and reading!)

Green Friday

I’m (un)officially going to declare today, “Green Friday”. As opposed to crazy long lines, insane hours and people physically harming one another to get great deals on Black Friday, I’m going to suggest shifting your focus to others on Green Friday. Mind you, it’s still about the shopping but how about looking at gifts that can give back? I’ve chosen green as it symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and has been known to have great healing power.

The most comprehensive site I’ve found is thehungersite.com. The same site where, in a click of a mouse, you can give free food also has hundreds of gifts to give, all of which give back in some way. From one site, I am managing to get all of my shopping done (see below) and today if you enter GOBBLE at checkout, you get $10 off $40 order, Also $4.95 US shipping every day.

(Every purchase funds at least 25 cups of food, many 50 cups!)

Love that crisp, sweet dry cleaning smell?

About.com tells us that the “smell” you love is the scent of the chemical known as perchloroethylene, or perc. Perc is also called dichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, PCE, dichloroethylene and a handful of other hard-to-pronounce names. The chemical solvent has also been under investigation for years by the EPA, the Department of Labor, the American Cancer Society, and has been linked to cancer by several scientific investigations. According to the National Institutes of Health: “long-term exposure to perchloroethylene can cause leukemia and cancer of the skin, colon, lung, larynx, bladder, and urogenital tract”.  It can also get released into the environment and seep into drinking water supplies, where it’s notoriously difficult to remove.

BUT I CAN’T – I WON’T – GIVE UP MY DRY CLEANING!

Luckily, there are other options. Nodryclean.com can help you find a nontoxic dry cleaner near you that uses safe, dry cleaning alternatives. Click here to watch a video to see how green dry cleaning works and make the switch today. If you are unable to find a green cleaner near you or, for some other reason can’t make the switch, take dry cleaning bags off of your clothes as soon as you get home and air them outside for at least 5 minutes.

Trick or Treat

Environmental Working Group provided this great article with tips on how to “green” your Halloween.

1. Pick play makeup carefully. Many children like to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they’re using safer products and applying them as directed. Visit cosmeticaldatabase.com to look up your products and find safer ones.

Kids should avoid:

  • Face paints can contain lead, which can impair brain development at extremely low doses, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.
  • Lipstick can also contain hidden lead. Because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it’s best to avoid lipstick all together. Opt instead for a shiny, beeswax-based lip balm.
  • Nail polishoften contains dibutyl phthalate and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer.
  • Cosmetics in powder form can easily be inhaled. Depending on the particle size, the powder can lodge in children’s nasal passages and even lungs — where it may cause damage.
  • Fragranced products Read ingredient labels and avoid products listing “fragrance” — EXG research found that fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

 2. Decorate naturally. Pick up pumpkins, gourds and hay bales from a local farm to create a haunting scene and reuse decorations from year to year.

3. Create a low-impact costume. Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

4. Burn more eco-friendly candles — Read the rest of this entry

I Heart Resale!

St. Louis is blessed to have a number of resale shops to choose from but if I had to narrow down to one childrens and one adults, it would be Kangaroo Kids and Next– both located at the corner of Manchester and Sappington. Kangaroo Kids not only does resale (childrens, maternity, toys, equipment…) but offers KKidsparent and breastfeeding support groups and are retailers for Baby Jogger, Medela, and Motherlove Herbals. But my most favorite thing is the fact that they offer FREE events such as Estate Planning Basics for New Parents ( Monday, September 20th 6:30pm) on top of everything else. It’s truly a one stop shop and did I mention that you can get coffee and snacks there? Life Simplified fans & followers can get 25% off resale until September 24th if you mention this article at Kangaroo Kids or Next!

Careful not to lose an afternoon at Next Woman’s Resale Boutique  – rated #1 in Vintage & Resale by KTVI 2010 Hot List.  Dana, the owner of NEXT, prides herself on her shop’s personalized customer service for both her shoppers and sellers, carefully selected and always changing name brand inventory, Nextand a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. Whether you need something for a special occasion or a wardrobe make over, come visit NEXT any time. 

Dana states, “I’ve furnished NEXT the same way I would like to encourage you to fill your closet. Next was created using 98% resale, recycled or other wise repurposed items from local resources. Read the rest of this entry