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November 30th, 2012
The week flew by leaving me with a few Groovy Green things to share. After taking time off for Thanksgiving I spent most of the week playing catch-up. While I was responding to emails and writing a few things came across my desk that I thought worthy of sharing.
Your couch is toxic
On Wednesday a startling new study came out in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that couches across America contain high levels of toxic chemicals. Great coverage of the study can be seen on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. The study found that 85% of couches tested contained toxic or untested flame-retardants. And the newer the couch, the more likely they were to contain toxic chemicals. The use of flame-retardants has increased over the years and now over 94% of new couches contain one or more of these toxic chemicals. Not good.
What can you do?
That’s the 20 million dollar question! The bottom line is we need better laws to prevent this from happening. We need the Safe Chemicals Act to pass. Take action today and join the movement today to help limit the use of toxic chemicals in our couches and other consumer products.
Opinionated friends rock!
Big thank you goes out to my friend Mary from In Women We Trust (IWWT) for putting together a fantastic list showing how some of the speakers on IWWT “speak out regularly to keep pushing the culture into a green and socially sustainable direction.” Seeing it on paper really gave me perspective and reaffirmed that we are all doing something pretty spectacular. Thank you Mary for including me on your list.
As the holidays come knocking on our doors I want to give a big shout out to a few of my wonderful sponsors whose long-term support help keep this blog rolling. Please take a minute to check out their sites and share some love. Maybe you’ll even find something special for the holidays.
- Mightynest-Shop for a stylish, eco-friendly and non-toxic home. Super products on this site! They’re offering free shipping on orders over $50.
- Essential Safe Products-Offering 20% off of all products right now with free shipping on orders over $100. ESP is a place where you can find non-toxic and safe products, and also great tips and information to help you make healthy lifestyle changes.
- Abe’s Market-Offering free shipping through the end of the year. Abe’s Market sells natural, organic and eco-friendly products.
- The Organic Mattress-With a brand new online store, this little gem of a shop offers organic mattresses, bedding (even for baby) and more.
- BagInspiration-It’s your one-stop shop for stylish and trendy eco friendly bags of all types
- Starlight Creatives-The most delicious, hand-decorated cookies. I dare you to try to eat just one.
There you have it. Have a groovy green weekend y’all.
Any spectacular plans?
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
October 5th, 2012
This week was full of surprises-good surprises. Part of what I truly love about this job is that I rarely have any idea what each day will bring. I can plan and organize as much as I want, but sometimes that inbox has something else in mind for me. And I like it that way. The down side of the surprise element is that I sometimes don’t get as much accomplished as I would like during the day. This was one of those weeks where I was off-track, but somehow landed back on. Here are a few of the highlights.
Disney Petition Update
This week I want to send a shout out to a few of the incredible supporters of my Disney petition.
At last check 57,716 of you had signed the petition asking Disney to remove toxic chemicals from their Spiderman and princess lunch boxes. THANK YOU.
If you haven’t signed the petition and would like to please click HERE.
Selected for Global Team of 200
I’m honored to have been selected by Mom Bloggers for Social Good as part of their Global Team of 200. According to Mom Bloggers for Social Good:
The Global Team of 200 is a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.
Over the year I will be writing and sharing some pretty cool initiatives all in the name of social good. Stay tuned.
Named Top Green Influencer
Thank you to Factory Direct Promos for naming me (along with many other familiar names and faces) to their list of Top Green Online Influencers for 2012. I’m honored to be in such good company.
Go Green this Halloween with a Costume Swap on October 13th
Time to put a little green into our Halloween. There’s a way to make this Halloween eek-o-friendly by participating in a National Costume DayTM swap. Again this year Green Halloween, Kiwi Magazine and Swap.com have partnered together to promote National Costume Day TM Swap on October 13, 2012. There will be costume swaps taking place all over the country. Check to see if there’s one near you!
I hope your week was filled with wonderful surprises. Have a groovy green weekend.
Here in Massachusetts we have a three day weekend. Woot! Any big plans in your neck of the woods?
photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via photopin cc
August 30th, 2012
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and this year it’s bittersweet. Over the past few weeks our summer groove has finally fallen into place and I’m not ready to let it go. I admit there’s a slight craving for a routine-normal bedtimes, some sort of schedule and consistency. But I’m still not ready. Thankfully we have a few days and a few BBQ’s planned before school kicks in. If you’re planning to head to or host a barbeque this Labor Day (or any other day) there are a few simple ways to make it eco-friendly.
1. Green your grilling
As delicious as grilling is, research has shown that cancer-causing compounds are formed when meat, poultry or fish are cooked at high heat. Try cooking your food at low temperatures, flip it frequently and don’t leave it on the grill longer than necessary. While grilling your food make sure to use green accessories to help you create a delicious and safe meal.
2. Reusables instead of disposables
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year. That’s a lot of trash. BBQ’s are know for their abundance of paper products and plastic utensils. How about mixing it up a bit this year and adding in a few reusable products in place of those single-use plastic and paper products? Using reusable cloth napkins, stainless steel flatware, reusable plates or even stainless steel straws would be a simple way to make a big impact.
3. Non-toxic bug repellent
The bugs can be fierce this time of year. DEET bug repellents can be toxic if we apply too much and leave it on our skin too long. Thankfully there are a quite a few bug repellents out there that are DEET-free. There are even plants that can be strategically placed around your yard that act as natural bug repellents. Our DEET-free bug repellent of choice this summer is Buzzaway.
4. Recycle bottles and cans
I cringe at the number of bottles and cans tossed into the trash at a barbeque. If you are hosting the party take the time to set up a extra bin or two for recyclables. If you’re headed to a BBQ and there’s no recycle container you might just have to carry it home.
5. Use fresh, seasonal and local food
- Safe for you-Grill and prepare organic and hormone-free meat, poultry and wild fish whenever possible.
- Safe for the planet-Buy local food whenever possible. When the food is locally grown or produced it doesn’t need to travel far to reach you-which means less fuel is needed to transport.
Looking for something delicious to bring to your barbeque this year?
My friend Amie over at The Healthy Apple has a spectacular recipe for your Labor Day BBQ. It’s a gluten-free twist on a traditional pasta salad and one that you won’t want to miss: sweet orange n’ grape pasta salad. This lovely recipe has no added sugar, no processed dressings and takes about 20 minutes to whip up. Hope on over to The Healthy Apple to check it out and while you’re there make sure to spend some time reading about Amie’s awesome approach to clean eating.
How are you spending Labor Day weekend? Any BBQ’s in your future?
Vegetable kebab. | Stock Photo © jura13 #2494373
Linked up with Seasonal Celebration.
August 27th, 2012
A challenging piece of my ongoing green journey has been to reduce the amount of paper used in my home. Let’s just say upfront that I draw the line at toilet paper. There will be no reusable toilet paper in my house. Ever.
I have the reusable napkin piece down. We have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to all different designs and sizes of reusable napkins.
The paper towel switch to reusables has been a bit more challenging. Thanks to our dog and three young boys we are constantly in need of something to clean up the messy trail left behind.
Now there’s a one-stop shop for paper towel alternatives and green kitchen products: Paperless Kitchen. The founder of Paperless Kitchen, Sachin, grew up in a household obsessed with paper towels and was shocked by how easily as a culture we become used to using something once and throwing it away. The company was formed to help all of us adopt greener lifestyles by offering alternatives to single-use kitchen paper products. Here are a few of the products that Paperless Kitchen offers-
I have been testing out SKOY cloths from Paperless Kitchen over the past few weeks. The cloth is great for everything from wiping the table to cleaning up dog disasters. The SKOY cloth is a European created product which is completely 100% biodegradable. Using one SKOY cloth is equal to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average house. My only complaint is I wish the cloth came in a variety of sizes.
I have been a fan of PeopleTowels for a long time and thanks to the generosity of Paperless Kitchen I now have my very own. They are reusable personal hand towels and are a fantastic alternative to paper towels. Made of 100% organic Fair Trade Cotton, they are an easy way to go green, save trees, reduce landfill waste, cut CO2 emissions and conserve water. An added bonus: there are so many adorable designs to choose from.
Paperless Kitchen is generously offering the Paperless Kitchen Starter Kit to one Groovy Green Livin reader. This kit is valued at $130 and includes:
You can also connect with Paperless Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Paperless Kitchen generously sent me SKOY clothes and PeopleTowels to try out. The opinions are my very own.
August 17th, 2012
Running over the finish line in my annual triathlon
Over the years I’ve had plenty of foot injuries. Plantar fasciitis has tormented me through many years of running and a heel spur made walking and running pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully my injuries haven’t been acting up lately I think in part because I religiously replace my running shoes after 6 months and use prescription orthodics in all of my running and exercise shoes.
My fascination with barefoot running
I’ve always been facinated by barefoot running. I’ve wondered whether running without all that man-made support in traditional running shoes would cure my foot ailments. When Planet Shoes, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, offered to send me a pair of shoes to test out I jumped at the opportunity to give barefoot shoes a try.
I’ve worked with Planet Shoes in the past and absolutely love this company’s mission. From their eco-friendly selection of shoes and carbon free shipping option to their partnerships with charitable organizations, this company rocks the true meaning of green.
I chose the Merrell Dash Glove barefoot running shoe. Have you seen the Vibram® Five Fingers shoes with 5 toes? These shoes have a Vibram® Sole. I like the look of the Merrell shoes much better than the Vibram® Five Fingers.
Starting off slowly
Everything that I’ve read about barefoot running suggests starting off slowly so your feet have a chance to become accustomed to the barefoot experience. I started off wearing them around the house. They are extremely light and comfortable. The shoes feel very different from my running shoes-there’s very little built in support and I wasn’t using my orthodics.
Next I ventured out on a walk with my new shoes. I have to admit that I missed the extra inch in height my running shoes give me. Barefoot shoes are flat, with no heel whatsoever. The walk went well. My feet and knees felt completely normal.
The gym was next on my list. I went wearing my new barefoot shoes, but not to my usual high impact class. I tested them out in a body conditioning class where there really wasn’t much jumping or running. One person commented that they looked like water shoes, which I hadn’t thought about but they really do.
Running barefoot up next
My next step will be taking these purple and pink pretty shoes out for a run. The Merrell site suggests:
Choose familiar terrain at first. Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you’ve built up greater endurance and strength.
After one week in these shoes I’m not completely sold on barefoot running. I’m planning to continue easing into them slowly. My traditional running shoes are still in the rotation and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. The good news: I haven’t had any knee pain or foot pain during my transition to these shoes. From all I’ve read it sounds like barefoot running is best on off-road trails. I’m a bit leery about their performance on asphalt, which is where most of my runs take place.
Have you tried barefoot running? Any words of wisdom for us beginners?
Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of shoes, courtesy of PlanetShoes.com, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, from The EcoMom Alliance Sustain YourSelf series. There are a few affiliate links in this post-if you purchase through these links it will place a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks!
August 15th, 2012
It’s Wednesday and all over the internet you will find photos with no words of explanation. Why? Because pictures say a thousand words and today is Wordless Wednesday.
I have a friend with a bike. A really cool bike. He is a true greenie. He uses his bike for much more then just transportation. Can you see what he’s transporting here?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a car driving an average of 12,500 miles per year will expend 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide. If you ride your bike to work one day each week instead of driving you could reduce your to global warming impact by 20% each year. Just think what an impact we could have if each one of us committed to riding a bike -clean air and less pollution all around.
Look what else can be transported via bicycle.
Here we have his trusty bike that can clearly do anything delivering another bicycle to it’s new owner. I think this is the ‘Superman’ of bikes.
Do you ride your bicycle? To work? For pleasure?
Thank you to my friend Joel for sharing some of the amazing things he can transport with his bicycle.
Linked up with Crazy About My Baybah, I Thought I Knew Mama, Dagmar’s Momsense, Farmer’s Daughter, The Progressive Parent.
Top Bicycle | Stock Photo © ongap_ #2211418
August 13th, 2012
My love of corn on the cob began when I was very young. Every summer I looked forward to going to the Sweet Corn Festival in Wisconsin. Once the nominal admission fee was paid it was all you can eat. Let’s just say I don’t do well with buffets. I have vivid memories of feasting on sweet corn until I was physically sick.
Fast forward to the present. The sweet corn festival continues in my very own dining room usually 2-3 times a week. My kids request and then devour corn on the cob. Even our dog is well trained to eat it right off the cob.
We had friends visiting from Chicago this past weekend and we got into a discussion about the best way to cook corn on the cob (exciting, I know!). For years I have added the corn to cold water and boiled them together. Our friends boil the water first and then add the corn. So what’s the best method to create perfect corn on the cob? I did a little research in my very own test kitchen and came up with the answer.
Selecting the corn
If growing your own corn isn’t an option (it’s not for me) then carefully hand select your ears of corn at the farmers market or super market.
- I always peel back the husk at the market to check on the corn inside. If it doesn’t look good, don’t buy it.
- Look for bright green husks that fit snugly around the ear of corn. The kernels should be in tight rows right to the top of the ear of corn-not white, small kernels, but full sized yellow kernels.
- Buy organic when you can.
How to cook corn on the cob
- Husk the corn just before cooking to keep the corn fresh.
- Remove as much of the silk as possible.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. I use a big stainless steel stock pot.
- Drop in husked ears of corn.
- Once water comes to boil again remove corn with tongs. Leave in a little longer if you like your corn on the softer side.
- I don’t put salt or butter on my corn. I love the flavor just the way it is.
Now you have perfect corn on the cob.
I tried grilling corn on the cob last year for the first time and it didn’t disappoint.
- Soak corn on the cob in bowl of water (don’t remove husk) for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the grill on medium heat.
- Remove corn from water.
- Place the soaked corn in the husk on the grill.
- Cook for 20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes.
- Use a fork to determine if the kernels are soft. If they are then the corn is done.
- Remove the corn from grill with tongsand peel away husk and silk. Use pot holders or dish towel to hold corn-it will be very hot to the touch.
What’s your favorite way to make corn on the cob?
[Photos used under Creative Commons from slgckgc, Keith McDuffee, Oakley Originals/Flickr]