Monday, December 8, 2008

Review: Adina Natural Highs Coffee Energy Drink

Like most people, I tend to drag a little in the afternoon and although I love coffee, I'm reluctant to grab a calorie-laden frappacino because it just results in a mid-day crash-and-burn. So when the folks at Adina for Life sent me a package of their new all-natural coffee drink, "Natural Highs™", I was admittedly a little skeptical.

Boy was I wrong! Take the caffiene kick from organic fair trade coffee combined with all-natural ingredients to get a refreshing energy boost. Each eight ounce serving is jam-packed with antioxidants on par with four servings of fruit. So it's natural, healthy, and energetic...but is it good?

My husband and I tasted each flavor (Hazelnut Hook Up, Double XXpresso, Vanilla Nut Case, Mocha Madness, and Caramel Kick). The verdict? Thumbs up! These energy drinks are slightly sweet with a light coffee flavor. To borrow from wine tasting, it has a nice "finish". No strange aftertaste thanks to the fact that it contains no artificial ingredients or chemical additives. Plus, you get an energy boost without the sugar crash an hour later.

We love that the company uses fair trade organic coffee, which supports a better life for farming families in Columbia. In fact, we liked Natural Highs so much that we've already gone to Whole Foods twice in the last few weeks to stock up on four-packs.

It looks like the team at Adina have a champ on their hands. And no surprise, as the team is comprised of a winning combination of entreprenuers from Odwalla (all natural juices), SoBe (energy drinks), and Peet's Coffee.

Want to try Adina Natural Highs? Buy it now at your local Whole Foods Market. Or enter to win a free four pack of Mocha Madness (my fave). Just leave a comment and let me know why you want to try Adina Natural Highs. But hurry! This giveaway ends December 15, 2008 at 11:59 PM (PST). One lucky winner will be announced here and notified via email so be sure to leave your email address in your comment. View our contest rules for more info.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reusable Shopping Totes on Black Friday

Hats off to Stride Rite for offering reusable shopping totes in leiu of the traditional plastic shopping bag. Granted, they are not quite as sturdy as the reusable grocery bags but the Stride Rite bags are great for quick trips to the mall.

Green Shopping Tip:
When you are dashing through the mall this holiday season, try to reduce the number of bags that you use. Bring your own shopping totes or consolidate your purchases into one or two larger shopping bags instead of gathering many small bags along the way.

Happy Green Shopping!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green toy review - plus save 10% at Natural Pod

Fagus Van from Natural PodThe kind folks at Natural Pod sent me one of their natural toys to review. Of course, I had to defer to the expert in the house, my son Alex, who has 13 months of experience with this type of very important work.

The Fagus Van is made from natural maple and fits perfectly in Alex's little hands. Its chunky rubber tires roll smoothly over our tile and carpet and they are rugged enough to tackle the great outdoors (aka Alex's sandbox and our backyard). Most importantly, Alex loves to play with the van and I love the fact that it's made from natural wood (no bells, no whistles, no motors...just imagination).

These toys actually remind me of the toys built in Santa's workshop. Are his elves moonlighting at Natural Pod? They have a wonderful assortment of natural toys and games that will stimulate your child's imagination and help them learn.

Natural Pod is offering a 10% discount on your first order. But hurry! This offer expires December 31, 2008. Use the following coupon code for your 10% discount: GCM08

One last tip: the Fagus Van would be an excellent stocking stuffer.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Five Reasons to be Thankful for Global Warming

As we give thanks this holiday season, we should all try to look on the bright side of global warming. Oh sure, we are depleting our natural resources and our environment is on the brink of disaster but we should choose to see the glass half full of (toxic) water, rather than half empty. Here are a few perspectives to get you started:

1. An increase in our average global temperature means no more bulky reindeer sweaters from Aunt Edna every Christmas. Whew!

2. Global sea levels could rise by 20 feet, which means that I could potentially own ocean-front property if I stay in my house long enough. I’ve always wanted my own private island.

3. Granted, about 200 million people will be displaced with the rising sea levels but just think of the market growth for the moving companies. Talk about a stimulus package! Note to self: buy stock in U-haul.

4. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the US fire season has increased by 78 days in the past twenty years. Bust out the marshmallows and let’s make some s’mores!

5. More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050, which means fewer endangered animals for the World Wildlife Fund to worry about. WWF employees can finally take that well deserved eco-tour vacation in Costa Rica (but not until that last baby seal is gone).

So before we all sit down to the table with our families this Thanksgiving, let's savor all the reasons to be thankful for global warming and relish in the fact that America is the number one polluter in the world. See...we are still the best at some things. What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Are there any legitimate eWaste recyclers out there?


Watch CBS Videos Online

It turns out over 40 "recyclers" were recently nabbed by the US Government Accountability Office for illegally shipping cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) overseas, thus endangering the environment and the health of the people who dissasemble them. CRTs, such as televisions and computer monitors, contain lead which is a highly toxic metal.

The eWaste segment on 60 Minutes last week left many people (including myself) scratching our heads. How we can responsibly dispose of our electronic waste with scammers like this profitting on our good intentions?

The Basel Action Network and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition partnered to create an e-Stewards Initiative, which holds participating electronic recyclers to a set of high standards. These e-recyclers promise that they won't export, land dump, incinerate, or use prison labor to disassemble toxic components.

To participate in the e-Stewards Initiative, recyclers must go through a paper audit which includes a review of in-house operations and a verification of the chain of custody of toxic materials through final disposition. Although this is basically running on the honor system at this time, they recently announced that they are planning to launch a 3rd party accreditation and certification program in 2010.

So what's a green girl to do with that expired iPod? I plan to checkout the e-Stewards list of approved eWaste recyclers. But if you don't feel comfortable with that, hold onto your electronics until 2010.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Save 15% on Organic Cotton Decorative Pillows


I just love the way that decorative pillows can change the look of a room. I love it even more when the pillows are vibrant and eco-friendly!

These fabulous pillow covers are made with 100% organic cotton, which has a soft and luxurious sheen. Bold patterns are printed using water-based inks. Plus, the pillow inserts are made from recycled plastic bottles! Have no fear, there is no "crunch" in these pillows. They are super soft and very fluffy.

To celebrate these new arrivals, I'm offering a 15% discount on your entire order* from Radiant Ideas. Simply enter the following coupon code at checkout: WABISABI

But hurry! This discount expires November 30, 2008. Visit Radiant Ideas now and place your order for these gorgeous green decorative pillows. Don't forget to enter your WABISABI coupon for a 15% discount.

* Discount valid from November 7 through November 30, 2008. Discount valid on purchases that total $74.99 and up (before tax and shipping). Discount not valid on furniture purchases.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ten Green Must-Haves for Obama's New Puppy

As promised during the campaign, Sasha and Malia Obama are finally getting their puppy. This is probably the most exciting news they've received (with their father's presidency probably coming in at a close 2nd). After all, who doesn't LOVE puppies?

In honor of this exciting news, here is a list of ten green must-haves for the presidential pooch before moving into the White House.

1. What dog wouldn't want to sleep in this sustainable dog house? It smells good, grows plants, attracts butterflies, filters water, insulates, and repels fleas. Made with FSC wood, zero-VOC paint, and beeswax waterproofing the only thing this dog house is missing is a green roof. Oh wait, it has that too! Checkout Sustainable Pet for designs and pricing.


2. While lounging in the White House, Fido can relax on an eco-friendly dog bed made from hemp fabric. It's durable, mildew resistant, antibacterial, and antifungal. Plus it's made with earth friendly dyes and eco-friendly stuffing. Prices starting at $120 at PetSquared.



3. DoginHaus has created three lines of doggy shampoos that are formulated using essential oils and herbal extracts to protect against dry skin, fleas, and ticks. We recommend the Urban Dog Shampoo for the Obama pooch. Available for $12 at Muttropolis.


4. To show his patriotism, Fido can strut his stuff in a red, white, and blue plaid leash. Made from eco-friendly fabric and renewable cotton webbing. Priced at $28 at Annie's Sweatshop.


5. Speaking of walks, it's inevitable that someone will have to pickup after the Obama pup. Biodegradable poop bags are the way to go! We use Pooch Pick-Up biodegradeable pet waste bags for our doggie, Jasmine. $6.99 for 100 bags at Petsmart.


6. Throw the dog a bone - an organic squeaker bone, that is. These super soft bone toys are made from organic fabric and all-nautral, unbleached cotton fill. Prices from $8 at Trixie and Peanut.


7. While Obama is working on world peace, Fido can be chewing on the "world's best dog ball". The super tough Orbee Dog Toy bounces, floats, and smells like peppermint. Apparently dogs love that minty scent, the bright colors, and the attached bungee. It rinses clean and is 100% recyclable when the pup grows tired of it. Prices starting at $10 from Muttropolis.


8. Once the Obamas name their pup, they should order a dog tag made from recycled aluminum. They can choose a shape and personalize it with a phrase on the front (1st Dog) and the dog's name and number on the back. Priced at $20 from Tuff Tagz.


9. All dogs have different needs when it comes to dog food so it's best to talk to the experts to determine what is best for your breed of dog. There are so many all-natural options on the market and the folks at Petco could help the Obama family out with their selection.


10. End the day with a decadent K9 Confection. These gourmet dog cookies are made in San Francisco using organic, human grade ingredients. Priced at $15 for a box of 15 treats from Keywest Aloe.


Do you have some green products to share with Obama's puppy? Leave a comment and let us know!

Violence Over California's Gay Marriage Ban

California's gay marriage ban (Prop 8) passed yesterday at the polls 52% to 48%. What makes me sad is the disrespectful, malicious, and sometimes even violent way people treated each other regarding this very controversial matter.

A close friend spent the last week supporting her gay friends' rights by carrying "Vote No on 8" signs in their neighborhood. Over the course of the week, she was called terrible names, flipped off repeatedly, and intimidated several times by the opposition.

She also told me that supporters of Proposition 8 were picketing across the street from the elementary school where her neighbor's son went to school. Needless to say, school officials asked them to move but the damage was already done and the little boy came home in tears.

I thought people who supported the ban on California gay marriage were doing so because they wanted to "protect our children". Hmmm...

I should point out that both sides are guilty of inappropriate behavior. For example, a man was arrested after punching his elderly neighbors in the face and head while disputing their Prop 8 signs. Well that's going to make it a little akward at the next block party, don't you think?

Police had to keep the peace and make a few arrests while hundreds of Prop 8 demonstrators clashed in Sacramento. There was pushing, spitting, and even a few knives pulled. WHAT?!?

In San Mateo, A 17-year-old girl was assaulted during a Prop 8 confrontation between supporters and opponents of Proposition 8. They must have been "protecting her" too.

Sadly, the list of random acts of unkindness continues but I won't dampen your day with more examples. This will not be the end of the controversial struggle over gay marriage in California (or the rest of the country for that matter). I bring this to your attention as a reminder that we all need to be respectful of each other's beliefs and opinions. We should agree to disagree without being irreverent or violent.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Download an eBook from EcoBrain and Save the Environment

Are you looking for a green book to spur some eco-friendly inspiration? Look no further than eBooks from EcoBrain.com!

This website has hundreds of eBooks about natural health, outdoor activities, green cooking, eco-friendly kids, climate change, and so much more. Browse everything from serious eBooks (like Climate Solutions) to sassy eBooks (like Sex in a Tent).

EcoBrain eBooks are greener than traditional books because they are paper-free books that you download and read on your computer or handheld device. This not only cuts down on paper consumption, but it also boosts energy and fuel conservation efforts. No printing, no binding, no packing, no shipping...just point and click, download, and read. It doesn’t get much easier (or greener) than that.

Prices range from a mere $1 to over $300. Plus every two weeks, EcoBrain features a new eBook that is totally FREE. You can browse by topic, price, or publisher. Or do a search for a more targeted approach. You can read customer book reviews and add your own two cents as well.

I will warn you that the text on this site is rather small but you can bump up the font size by holding the Ctrl key while you press the + key. You can bump it down again with the Ctrl key and the – key.

The only thing this eBookstore is missing is a cyber coffee shop! Nothing like sipping a steamy cup o’ joe while perusing a bookstore. But I guess I can settle for my own home-brewed java.

EcoBrain eBook Giveaway:
Leave a comment and enter to win a FREE copy of Radical Simplicity from EcoBrain and New Society Publishers. Just visit EcoBrain now and browse their selection. Then return to this post and let us know which title strikes your fancy. But hurry! This giveaway ends November 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM (PST). The lucky winner will be announced here and notified via email so be sure to leave your email address in your comment. View our contest rules for more info.

Bloggers
Bloggers can also receive a 2nd entry by promoting the EcoBrain eBook Giveaway on your blog. Just copy and paste the URL of your blog post in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hang Up Your Phone Book Deliveries

I just added yet another phone book to my teetering stack of phone books. Does this pile look familiar to you?

According to Earth911, 540 million telephone directories are distributed each year. I personally have six phone books in my kitchen alone. For some reason, it appears I'm on the super distribution cycle and I receive a new phone book (or two) every few months.

So what's a girl to do with these growing stacks of phone books? Apparently a lot of people simply trash them and 660,000 tons of phone directories end up in landfills each year. Yikes! That's a lot of trees.

I've been recycling old phone books as I receive new ones but decided to take it a step further and simply cancel my deliveries altogether. Yes, you can do that!

It just dawned on me that I have NEVER opened a single phone book since I moved into my house four years ago. Why is that? I use the Internet to lookup everything. The Internet is faster and more accurate than printed directories and it provides customer comments, pictures, directions, and maps.

Want to cancel your phone book deliveries? Simply call the phone numbers listed in your directories and asked to be removed from their distribution list. They will be sad to see you go (and so will their advertisers) but just think how happy the trees will be! I recommend that you hang on to at least one directory in case your power goes out or your Internet connection is down. Or you need a booster seat for your little ones.

If you're the type to "let your fingers to do the walking" and want to keep your phone books, please recycle your old directories instead of throwing them in the trash.

What do you do with your old phone books? Leave a comment and let us know!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ten tips for decorating green this Halloween

Please forgo the paper and disposable plastic Halloween decorations and invest in spooky decorations that you can use year after year. Or go all-natural!

1. Decorate your home, inside and out, with locally grown pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, and brightly colored fall leaves. These natural decorations will provide a splash of season-appropriate color all the way through Thanksgiving.

2. Make homemade luminaries to light your pathway or place along your windowsills. Save a few tin cans, wash well, fill with water, and put in freezer. Once frozen, you will be able to pound a simple pattern into the can using a hammer and a nail. The ice will keep the can from collapsing as you create your masterpiece. Make simple jack-o-lantern faces, a cat, the moon, or the word “BOO”. When finished carving, remove the ice and dry well. Put some sand, dirt, or rocks in the bottom to weigh down. Place a tea light candle or a glow stick inside. Note: if you use a candle, place your luminaries up and away from your Halloween traffic. Windowsills are the perfect location for these recycled luminaries.

3. What to do with all those glass jars you've been saving? Why not decoupage them with orange tissue paper and add black shapes to create a glass jack-o-lantern? Drop a candle inside and you have a glowing masterpiece. Get creative and decoupage with purple tissue paper and add a white ghost. Use all different shapes and sizes of jars to make your collection interesting. The day after Halloween, you can use your jars to store all that Halloween loot.

4. There are many solar-powered Halloween lights on the market. These are great because you aren’t using energy to light them and you don’t have to worry about extension cords.

5. Make a simple ghost for your yard by putting a bike helmet on a hat stand. Attach a broom or a long stick to form a cross. Drape a white sheet over the hat stand and say “boo”.

6. Create a scarecrow with jeans and a shirt, stuffed with old newspaper, straw, or leaves. Leave it headless for a scary version or add a pumpkin on top with a funny face.

7. Find other home d├ęcor items made from natural materials, like our Acorn Baskets made from natural seagrass. These are not only adorable but functional and can be used year-round.

8. Banish the home fragrance sprays and fill your home with the scents of homemade cookies or a fresh-baked pie. Don’t have time? Light a fragrant soy candle with all-natural essential oils. There are several mouth watering holiday scents.

9. Light the path for trick-or-treaters with an orange CFL bulb.

10. Remember to carefully wrap and pack all of your Halloween decorations so you can continue to use them for years to come.

How are you decorating for a green Halloween this year?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Green Halloween Costumes

My green Halloween theme continues this week with Halloween costumes. Remember when we used to actually MAKE our costumes? I would spend WEEKS planning the perfect costume, scouring the house and garage for the appropriate materials, and building my masterpiece.

This year, let's get back to the basics and steer clear of the costume-in-a-bag. Sure the bagged costumes are easy but are they fun? We know they are not so great for the environment either. Get your child’s creative juices flowing with homemade costumes and have some fun in the process!

1. Make your own costume from items in your closet or garage. Do you have an old uniform that you can repurpose? What about those 80's prom dresses hanging in your closet?

2. It’s amazing what you can create with a large box, some paint, and your imagination. Cut wings out of cardboard and paint red with black dots. Add a headband with feelers, black pants, and a black shirt and you've got yourself a ladybug. Or do yellow and black stripes for a bumble bee. Or multicolored wings for a butterfly.

3. If you’re not feeling creative you can buy a used costume at a 2nd hand shop or find one on Craigslist.

4. Prior to Halloween, organize a costume swap with your friends, family, and neighbors. Invite everyone to bring their gently worn costumes to exchange for a "new-to-them" costume.

5. Keep those batteries out of the landfills and use a crank powered flashlight to light the way during trick-or-treating or for a game of flashlight tag.

6. Bust out an old pillowcase for trick-or-treating instead of buying a plastic candy pail.

Share your memories! What was YOUR favorite Halloween costume?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Green and Yummy Halloween Treats

I never thought I would say this but, "When I was a kid..." Halloween treats were usually homemade and gobbled up as soon as they were dropped into our Halloween sacks (aka pillowcases). We would bob for apples, snack on popcorn balls, tell scary stories, and play flashlight tag in the dark.

Admittedly, times have since changed and there are some safeguards that we must now take to keep our children safe. But we can still make this a Halloween a little greener with a few easy tips.

Let's face it, kids expect candy but we can deliver on that in a responsible way.

1. Yummy Earth makes truly yummy lollipops that are certified organic. Pomegranate Pucker is my fave. You can find Yummy Earth Lollipops in nearly every grocery store but if you can’t find them near you, they are currently offering free shipping if you buy on their website.

2. Endangered Species Chocolate sells individual milk and dark chocolates wrapped in festive orange and brown wrappers for Halloween. These chocolates are all-natural and ethically traded. Plus, 10% of their net profits are donated to help support species, habitat, and humanity.

3. Panda Licorice is made in Finland with all natural ingredients. We conducted an entirely non-scientific taste test in our home and the former household champion, Twizzler, was beat hands down by Panda Licorice.

4. Newman’s Own Peanut Butter Cups are simply yummy goodness.

5. Don’t want to dispense candy this Halloween? Why not give unexpected goodies like soy crayons, smencils made from recycled newspaper, stickers, or other spooktacular goodies.

Stay tuned for more green Halloween tips over the next few days but in the meantime, let me know what YOUR favorite green Halloween goodies are!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This green backpack is too dog-gone cute

To me, going green is all about making wiser decisions and modifying my shopping behavior. I continually ask myself...do I really need that? If so, I look for a green option when possible.

So when it was time to buy my son a new backpack, I was on a mission to find a super cute eco-friendly bag for the little guy. Alex is turning one tomorrow so I can still make the decisions (or that’s what I’m telling myself at least).

After some online searching, I found this adorable puppy backpack made by EcoGear. It’s made with organically-grown cotton canvas, non-toxic dyes, sustainable wood closure, and recycled plastic components.

The size is perfect for all the "mission critical" stuff he needs to take to daycare everyday like a change of clothes, sippy cup, and a toy. The cotton canvas is sturdy yet has a nice softness to it. I think I can throw it in the washing machine but will have to double check on that when he gets home tonight.

Most importantly, Alex lights up whenever he sees his new puppy bag. And I feel great knowing that it was produced responsibly and isn't releasing toxins into the air.

EcoGear also sells Panda, Pig, and Elephant backpacks in their EcoZoo line. They’re not cheap (came in around $40 after tax and shipping) but I think it was a great investment that should last him a few years.

So the next time you are in the market for that next bag, pair of shoes, cutting board, or whatever...do a quick search online to see if you can find an eco-friendly alternative. You would be amazed at the options that are at our fingertips!

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to recycle those CFL bulbs

I just noticed the CFL bulb on our front porch has burned out. Not only is it time to replace it, it’s also time for me to finally figure out what the heck to do with the expired bulbs that I’ve been collecting over the past year.


I’m sure you are well versed in why CFL bulbs are a better choice for our environment and energy conservation but not many people know that they need to be disposed of properly. Each bulb contains a trace amount of mercury, which has been proven to cause kidney and brain damage. So it’s critical that we dispose of these bulbs properly and keep that mercury out of our landfills.


It’s not only a healthy decision; it’s a lawful decision in some states. Did you know that it’s illegal to throw away CFL bulbs in California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana?


There are several options for disposing of your CFL bulbs properly:


1. Stores like IKEA and Home Depot are now accepting expired and unbroken CFL bulbs. Simply take your bulbs into the store and give them to the person at the returns desk.


2. Visit Earth911 to find a recycling center near you. They have a cool search box at the top of their site where you can enter what you want to recycle (CFL bulbs, batteries, paint, etc.) and your location. They will give you a list of options in your area.


3. Check with the bulb’s manufacturer. Many companies now offer a free mail-back program. Just call the phone number listed on your bulb to see what kind of recycling programs they offer.


4. Contact your local waste management company to see if they accept hazardous waste materials.


When you are ready to recycle your used CFL bulbs, take the following steps to ensure your safety and a cleaner environment:


1. Place the old bulbs in the packaging from your new bulbs to prevent breakage. If these aren’t available, wrap your bulbs in newspaper or plastic shopping bags to cushion them and prevent them from breaking.


2. Store your old bulbs together in a box until you have time to take them to the recycling center.


3. Mark your calendar for hazardous waste recycling. Some areas only accept hazardous waste once or twice a year. Don’t miss out! Check now and save the date so you aren’t stuck with a box of hazardous waste for another year.


4. If a CFL bulb does break while storing or transporting it, follow these important clean-up steps from the EPA.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reverse Trick-or-Treating with FREE Fair Trade Chocolates


Want to surprise your neighbors this Halloween? When you take your kids trick-or-treating, give a treat back to the adults this year with fair trade chocolates. Best of all, it's FREE!

I am a fan of chocolate. I am a big fan of fair trade chocolate. I am a huge fan of FREE fair trade chocolate. Does it get any better than that? I didn't think so.

Global Exchange is running their 2nd annual "Reverse Trick-or-Treating" Campaign in an effort to raise awareness about the poverty and child labor among cocoa farmers. They are providing these reverse trick-or-treating kits for free - you just pay $4.95 for shipping. The kits consist of 20-25 pieces of fair trade chocolate and information cards.

Why is fair trade important? Despite years of promises from major chocolate manufacturers little has been done to tackle the issue of forced child labor on many farms that supply their cocoa. In addition, low cocoa prices have left cocoa farmers in poverty year after year. The Fair Trade certification prohibits the use of abusive child labor and guarantees a fair price paid for cocoa. This raises farmers' incomes and creates hope for a better future for their children. You can read more in their article about child labor in the cocoa industry.

The deadline to order your kit is October 13 but I encourage you to place your order today as supplies are limited. I just ordered my reverse trick-or-treating kit today and can't wait to share the goodies with our neighbors.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

10 Tips to Go Green and Save Green


With the financial crisis looming over the country, and unemployment rates rising, it’s only natural for people to be less concerned about greening their habits and more concerned about keeping green in their wallets.

It’s important to note that the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have your green cake and eat it too with the following eco-friendly tips that will also save you money.

1. Conserve energy! This is an obvious one but necessary. Save energy by turning off unnecessary lights, lowering your thermostat, cleaning your refrigerator coils, unplugging unused electronics, and washing laundry in cold water instead of hot. Prep your house for winter by sealing drafty windows and doors.

2. Conserve water by taking shorter showers, watering your lawn less often, washing full loads of laundry, and fixing leaky faucets.

3. Organic produce is not always the most expensive option. Watch for sales when you shop – you will find some organic bargains. Maximize your food budget by opting for organic on the items that typically have the highest amounts of pesticides and herbicides including: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes.

4. Buy in bulk or in larger sizes to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to our landfills and lower your grocery bills.

5. Save on gas by going the speed limit, keeping your tires properly inflated, and avoiding the “idle” waiting. Carpool with neighbors when you can. Better yet, use mass transit, ride a bike, or walk.

6. Visit your local library instead of buying a new book.

7. Invest in a water filter and drink tap water instead of buying bottled water.

8. When it’s time to cleanup, use cloth towels, washcloths, or napkins rather than paper towels.

9. Skip the expensive and abrasive chemical cleaners and opt for more natural (and less expensive cleaning alternatives like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia.

10. When a light bulb goes out, replace it with a CFL bulb. It does cost more than a regular bulb but it lasts ten times longer and uses a third less energy which will lower your electrical bill each month.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend green to go green. Tell us what you think! What do YOU do to save money and the environment?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Find a "Green Jobs Now" Event Near You!

This Saturday, September 27, hundreds of "Green Jobs Now" events (656 to be exact) will be held across the country to make one statement: we must repower America with green jobs.


My husband and I are taking the kids to a rally at UCSD tomorrow to show our support. I'm pretty excited about it as this will be the first "official" rally that I've attended. Just thinking about it takes me back to my parents' hippie days. Maybe I should put flowers in my hair tomorrow. Ack! I'm turning into my Mom. No flowers, no freedom music, just good ol' green support.


I'm also pretty eager to see how our 14 year old daughter and her girlfriend respond to the rally tomorrow. Today's youth are MUCH more engaged in the environment than I was at that age. I hope it will leave them with a desire to do something bigger than update their MySpace page and they will demand that we clean up our planet and keep it healthy.


Is there a "Green Jobs Now" event near you? Why not take an hour out of your busy day and drop in to show your support? Click here to find an event near you.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Top Ten Autumn Yard Tips


Autumn is the perfect time to get out and prep your lawn and garden for the winter months so you will an amazingly healthy yard in the spring. Here are a few autumn tips to get you started:

  • Leave your leaf blower in the garage and bust out a rake to rake up all those leaves. This is not only good exercise for you, but it’s better for the environment. Plus your lawn will love all that sunshine and air that it wouldn’t get when suffocated under a wet blanket of leaves.

  • Clean up your flower garden by removing all the spent flowers and vines. Watch for leaves that are diseased or infested and dispose of them separately (in the trash) so they don’t propagate throughout your garden next year.

  • Add your collected leaves, twigs, grass clippings, flowers, and chopped brush to your compost bin. Don’t have one yet? Composting101.com gives you step-by-step instructions, tips, and answers for all your composting questions.

  • Opt for an organic mulch to enrich your garden’s soil, retain moisture, protect your plants’ roots, and prevent soil erosion. You can use wood chips, bark, sawdust, lawn clippings, straw, or your compost collection. The key here is to make sure you are using dry materials because wet lawn clippings or leaves, for example, will clump together and block the much-needed air and sunlight.

  • Help your lawn make it through the cold and blustery months by winterizing it with fertilizer. Fertilizers help the lawn store vital nutrients that help root development and results in a fuller growth in the spring. Terracycle has a natural lawn fertilizer made from worm poop (sounds gross but works great).

  • Take some time to consider your spring flower garden. Who doesn’t like tulips, daffodils, and irises? It’s best to plant bulbs in late September so they will root well before the ground freezes.

  • Place some all-natural bird feeders out for our feathered friends. Tie a string on a pinecone, slather the pine cone with peanut butter then roll it in birdseed. Hang from a nearby branch and watch the birds flock to their feast.

  • Once all of the leaves have fallen off your trees you can prune the diseased, infested, dead, or broken limbs. Be sure to prune those branches that are too close to your house or the neighbor’s property.

  • Clean and sharpen your gardening tools so they will last for years to come and will work great in the spring.

  • Get outside and enjoy the crisp weather and the changing leaves before winter is here and you’re stuck inside.
  • Monday, September 22, 2008

    Green Your Water Garden


    Like most people in San Diego, my husband and I have a tiny yard. In our tiny yard is a water feature that looks like a mini tropical oasis, complete with two small waterfalls (more like trickles) and a palm tree in the center.

    When we bought our home, the previous owners advised us to add a chemical called "Shock" to the water to keep algae from growing in the water feature. So in the beginning, we faithfully added our chemicals and enjoyed our little slice of paradise.

    But then we started thinking...if this chemical is killing the algae, what else is it doing? We decided to research some green alternatives to the chemicals and within a few hours we had a new game plan.

    Even though our water feature is rather small, we were able to add two types of aquatic plants and a few fish to the water to keep clean. We selected water irises and water lilies to filter the water and mosquito fish to snack on the algae.

    You might think this sounds like a lot of work but it was incredibly simple. The aquatic plants came in planters that we just placed directly into the water. The hardest part was picking out the plants that we wanted - there's a huge variety available.

    We also bought three mosquito fish at the aquatic garden center and dropped them straight into the water garden. Apparently they were "busy" because now we have hundreds of fish. Good thing they are small!


    Between the plants and the fish, our eco-friendly water garden is healthier than ever. Every day we can ooh and ahh over our beautiful flowers, like the water lily in the picture above. And we are visited by butterflies and birds of all sorts, who like to cool off in the water. We were even graced with a hummingbird nest that cradled twin hummingbird eggs that hatched last spring. That nest, holding two birds, is about the same diameter as a D battery. Amazing! If that’s not proof that small changes make a big difference, I don’t know what is.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Serene and Green Giveaway

    The winner of our "Green and Serene" Giveaway is "Bookworm". Congratulations, Bookworm and thank you to all who participated. Watch for more giveaways this month.

    A note from our winner: "Just wanted to let you know that I received my package yesterday. Wow, everything smells wonderful. I didn't know if I should take a bath or light the candle, so I did both. Very nice! Thanks very much!"

    Ahhhhh the weekend! Finally some time to unwind and decompress. For me, there's no better way to relax than to soak in the tub with some candles and a good book. So I decided to share that with you! Enter the Serene and Green Giveaway for a chance to win a Soy Candle and Handmade Rainwater Soap, courtesy of Radiant Ideas (valued at over $30).

    Tell us how you relax and enter to win!
    Just leave a comment below with your favorite eco-friendly relaxation tip and you will be automatically entered into our Serene and Green Giveaway. But hurry! This giveaway ends September 30, 2008 at 11:59 PM (PST). The lucky winners will be announced here and notified via email. View our contest rules for more info.

    Bloggers
    Bloggers can also receive a 2nd entry by promoting the “Serene and Green Giveaway” on your blog. Just copy and paste the URL of your blog post in the comments section.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Easy Energy Saving Tip


    Quick Tip: Bypass the timer on your garage opener light and save over 42 hours of electricity usage each year!

    My garage door opener has a timer on the light. It turns off four minutes after the door closes. I know this because I stood there and timed it this morning. That was a looooooong four minutes.

    It usually takes me about 30 seconds to get out of my car and walk into the house (thats being rather generous). That means the handy light in my garage stays on for at least three and a half minutes after I've left the garage. It doesn't seem like a long time but it adds up. Consider the following:

  • 3.5 minutes x 2 drivers = 7 minutes a day

  • 7 minutes x 365 days = 2555 minutes a year or 42.58 hours a year


  • As I walk into my house, I bypass the timer and turn the garage light off myself. Doesn't take but a second (disclaimer: I did NOT time that).

    How do you conserve energy? Leave a comment and let us know!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Freeze It and Save


    Last week I made my favorite glazed salmon recipe, which calls for one teaspoon of adobo sauce. Back in the day, I would purchase a can of chipotle chiles, use one teaspoon of the adobo sauce, and then pitch the rest of the can. After all, it wasn't like I was going to make the same recipe the next day! And it only cost 99 cents...not a big deal, right?

    Now that I'm a little more concerned about my consumption habits, I've learned to modify my behavior to send less waste to the landfills with the added benefit of spending less money at the grocery store. Here are some quick and easy tips to freezing:

    Freezing Sauces
    Save that leftover spaghetti sauce, pesto, gravy, or just about any other sauce (including adobo) for upcoming meals. Simply pour the remaining sauce into a muffin tin or ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen solid, pop the sauce cubes out, put into an airtight container, and return to the freezer. Your frozen sauce will be good for two months.

    Freezing Fresh Fruit Juices
    If you know you’re not going to be able to use those limes and lemons before they go bad, squeeze the juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen solid, remove from tray, put into freezer bags, and return to the freezer. Your frozen fruit juice will be good for 8 to 12 months.

    Freezing Fresh Herbs
    Fresh herbs are yummy but can be expensive. Don’t let those leftover herbs go to waste. Wash the healthiest looking leaves and pat dry with a dishtowel or (gasp) paper towel. Spread the individual leaves on a small tray or cookie sheet. Cover and place the tray of leaves into the freezer. It’s important to freeze the leaves flat so they don’t turn into a big ol’ solid brick. Once frozen solid, place in airtight containers and return to the freezer. Your frozen herbs will be good for about three months.

    Share your tips! What do you like to freeze?

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Are you SURE those dishes are clean?

    When is the last time you looked inside your dishwasher? At first glance, it probably looks okay. But literally stick your head in there and take a closer look.

    I bent inside of my dishwasher this afternoon to grab a few lingering scraps from the last load and did a double take. At first I noticed some greasy buildup, which I guess is to be expected after years of use. Then on closer inspection, I discovered black grime and (gulp) tiny patches of mold. EWWWWW!!!

    With some quick research and literally 10 minutes of elbow grease, my dishwasher is sparkling clean again and ready to tackle the toughest dishes. Here's how you can get your dishwasher in tip-top shape without using harsh chemicals:

    1. Take the dishracks out of the dishwasher so you are able to easily access the inside of your dishwasher.

    2. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar (yes, I love vinegar) and liberally soak all greasy, grimey, moldy areas. Don't forget to get the rubber seal, the bottom of the door, and the hinges. Trust me, these areas are the worst. ICK!

    3. Using an old toothbrush, scrub the areas that you just sprayed down.

    4. Wipe clean with a wet sponge and inspect your dishwasher again, repeating steps 2 and 3 as necessary.

    5. Check out the drain area and remove any debris that may be stuck there.

    6. Put the racks back in your dishwasher. Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the bottom of you dishwasher and run a full cycle on the hottest setting with no dishes in it. It's recommended to do this step once a month.

    So I double dog dare you to stick your head in YOUR dishwasher and tell me what you find. I would LOVE to hear if you have any other dishwasher cleaning tips to share.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Book Giveaway: The Better World Shopping Guide


    The average American family spends around $18,000 each year on goods and services. Think of it as casting 18,000 votes every year for the kind of world you want to live in. The question is, how do we know what company to "vote" for?

    "The Better World Shopping Guide" is your handy guide to determining which brands to buy and which to avoid. For example, I think we all know that Ben & Jerry's is an obvious choice in natural ice cream and they (naturally) scored an A+ in the Shopping Guide. But would you have guessed that Dreyer's and Haagen Daaz both received an F in the Shopping Guide?

    One of my new fave blogs, GreenYourDecor.com, is sponsoring a book giveaway. Check out GreenYourDecor and enter to win "The Better World Shopping Guide" today. Or if you're just dying to get your hands on a copy now, visit BetterWorldShopper to buy a copy for yourself.

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    Suds Patrol


    Another product that I absolutely love these days is Method Foaming Handwash. I first discovered it at Target but have recently noticed it in my local grocery store as well. It's priced right, eco-conscious, and smells great.

    Hats off to Method for developing cleaning formulas that contain biodegradable ingredients derived from natural materials like soy, coconut, and palm oils. Plus their packaging is made from recyclable materials. On top of that, they also offer a budget-friendly and eco-friendly refill pack that sends less waste to our landfills.

    If you haven't used Method yet, give it a shot. You'll help the environment and feel good every time you wash your hands.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Junk Mail Be Gone!


    According to ForestEthics, more than 100 BILLION pieces of junk mail are delivered in the United States each year. This creates over 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is the equivalent of idling 2.4 million cars 24/7. Ouch!


    Protect your mailbox before the barrage of holiday catalogs hit! GreenDimes gives you control over catalog delivery so you can choose what you get. Plus, they will plant five trees on behalf of each premium member.

    GreenDimes offers a do-it-yourself kit, which is free. Or you can upgrade to their premium service for a flat fee of $20. I signed up for the premium service today and think it was money well spent. They listed a handful of companies that specialize in junk mail offers and you can also search by name of catalog. Simply add the catalogs and GreenDimes will notify them immediately.

    Check it out! Your mailbox and recycle bin will thank you.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Silky Smooth Shave!

    I made the trek home to visit my parents this summer and borrowed some of my Mom's shaving cream. What better way to test out a product than on someone else's dime? I'm sure Mom didn't mind.

    I have to say that I love this moisture shave from Kiss My Face. Their products are made from natural ingredients like peppermint to cool and stimulate, coconut oil to soothe, orangeflower to refresh, and lemongrass to cleanse. Lovely!

    Personally, I'm not a big fan of the super-sweet scented shaving creams that are on the market so I was thrilled to see that Kiss My Face has an unscented moisture shave. However, I do LOVE lavender so I had to give their Lavender Shea scent a try. It's the perfect combo of soothing lavender and moisturizing shea butter (and my new fave).

    I also noticed almost immediately that the annoying itchy feeling was gone after shaving. Guess those natural ingredients really do make a difference, huh?

    So I tip my hat to my Mom, who tipped me off to Kiss My Face and I hope you will love it as much as we do.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Greening Your Back-to-School Supplies

    It’s back to school time and this is a perfect opportunity to make a small change in our purchasing behaviors. By doing a little research, you can find some great school supplies that are eco-friendly and surprisingly fun.



    Kids will roar for lunches packed in these adorable reusable lunch bags.



    Smencils are pencils made from recycled newspaper and come in mouthwatering scents like watermelon and pineapple.


    Who wouldn’t want to take notes in these oh-so-cute notebooks, made from 100% recycled paper and printed with vegetable inks.



    The connected kids can charge their iPods or cell phones using this solar powered backpack from Helius.


    Shop for eco-friendly supplies such as Post-Its, paper, folders, pens, and more in Staples’ Eco-Easy aisle. That was easy.

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Fair trade lamps featured in the Yoga Journal

    I am very excited to announce that one of the fair trade lamps that I sell on the Radiant Ideas web store was recently featured in the Yoga Journal! The exposure is great for my site, of course, but I'm thrilled to see that fair trade is getting more and more exposure in the media. It's so important to be environmentally friendly but I think it is just as important to be socially conscious.

    These handmade lamps are commissioned by a fair trade organization that ensures the artisans are paid a fair wage & work in a safe environment. Makes you feel good knowing that your purchase is lighting up the lives of others.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Make the Switch

    There's been a lot of pressure lately to open up protected areas for oil drilling. But common sense says drilling is not the answer. Switching to 100% clean, renewable electricity is. Check out the latest TV ad from the we campaign and share it with your friends.

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Project Runway Goes Green

    I have to admit, Project Runway is my guilty pleasure. My daughter and I love watching the transformations that are created within tight deadlines. The last episode had a new twist that is close to my heart: the fabrics used had to be "green". Check out this video clip to see how green can be glamorous!

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    5 Minute Organic Herb Garden

    I absolutely LOVE to try new recipes and I truly believe that fresh herbs can make or break a meal. But it gets rather expensive to buy fresh herbs for each dish that you make. My favorite Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme just isn't the same with dried thyme so I used to buy fresh thyme for this dish and then throw the rest away. How often do you really use thyme? What a waste!

    I always wanted an herb garden of my own but I mistakenly thought that they were too much work. That all changed when I discovered the organic potted herbs at my grocery store. Not only are they grown organically, they are planted in biodegradable pots so all you have to do is dig a hole, put the entire pot in the ground, fill with soil, and water. Voila! You have an organic herb garden in less than five minutes.

    The picture above is my mini herb garden, which is nestled happily between my gerbera daisies and bougainvilla. Admittedly, this is a rather odd location for an herb garden but it works! If you don't have a yard, you can easily plant a window box of herbs in your kitchen or on your patio.

    It's worth it knowing that I have these wonderful herbs at my fingertips. All I have to do is walk out to my backyard to pick cilantro, basil, oregano, parsley, and of course, thyme, for my summertime meals. Plus, I'm saving money (and last minute trips to the store) when I want to whip up a batch of guacamole. (Sorry but I can't link to that recipe because it's top secret.)

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Finally Switched to Reusable Bags

    Okay, I am the first to admit that I am behind the times! I know as an environmentally concerned citizen that I should have been wielding my reusable totes YEARS ago. I wanted to, I really did! But to be honest, I was just too lazy.

    Since we're on the quest to make small changes in our lives to be more eco-friendly, my husband and I decided to finally take the plunge and get some reusable bags. We proudly purchased five reusable totes last week at our local grocery store. On our first return trip to the store, we totally forgot to bring the bags with us. DOH!

    Now the bags stay in the car and we use them whenever we can. It may take some time to get this down but old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Eco-friendly Cleaning

    Grandma always used to say that white vinegar and some elbow grease would clean just about anything. I have to admit that until recently, I thought it was easier (and better) to use the good ol' cleaning supplies on the market.

    It turns out (surprise, surprise) that these tried and true cleaning supplies are loaded with toxins, and aren't good for my family, my home, or the planet. So I decided to listen to my very wise Grandma and give the vinegar a shot.

    My first question was...how the heck am I supposed to use vinegar to clean??? Diluted or full strength? Pour or spray it on? Rinse it off or leave it be? I recently came across a web site that is chocked full of vinegar tips. It has so many fabulous ideas that I actually started cleaning as I was reading them. Plus, they have other vinegar tips for cooking, gardening, health, and more. Who knew vinegar was so versatile?

    So check out the tips and don't forget to bookmark the site.

    Happy green cleaning!

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    The Story of Stuff


    Do you ever stop to think about how all of our wonderful gadgets, gizmos, and gotta-have-em's are created? Or where they end up when we're done using them? The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. For instance, did you know that 99 PERCENT of everything that we purchase ends up in a landfill within SIX MONTHS?

    So checkout The Story of Stuff now and learn a few fun-filled facts. You may think twice before upgrading to the latest iPod.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Save a Tree - Rediscover the Library

    Okay, I will be the first to admit that going to the library isn't revolutionary. But I am thrilled to report that I have finally rediscovered my public library.

    I don't know why I abandoned such a happy place. Growing up with little money, the library was always the place I knew I could find free entertainment. But as I grew older, my financial situation changed and I found myself thrilled to spend hours in Barnes & Noble or scouring amazon.com for my latest read.

    My book piles expanded and I found myself happily lending books to friends or donating them to Goodwill (the books, not my friends). As I looked at those mounds and mounds of titles, I began to wonder if all of that consumerism was really necessary. After all, it wasn't like I was going to read any of those books again.

    So this summer, I decided to reaquaint myself with my public library. Just walking through the front door, I was transported back to my childhood and felt the rush of excitement from the possibilities that lay before me. Okay, a little dramatic but I WAS thrilled to find the book that I wanted (which wasn't available at the local B&N) and shocked to discover the library's wide selection of DVDs and CDs.

    From now on I plan to save my book money and a few trees by using my local library more often. Plus, I now have a new place to donate all my books for others to enjoy. What a novel (ahem) idea.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Tips to Green Your Next BBQ

    Green Grill:
    Gas is the most resource-efficient means of powering a grill and the least polluting. Gas barbecues produce about half as much CO2 as charcoal grills, and about 1/3 as much as electric grills. If you are a die-hard charcoal enthusiast, there are green options for you as well! Coconut Shell Briquette Charcoal is all natural and 100% chemical free.

    Smart Food:
    Your local farmer’s market is a great resource for local fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products. If you are serving fish, the Sierra Club recommends wild-caught Alaskan or Canadian salmon and farmed U.S. catfish as sustainable choices. Organic meat is always a good choice if you can afford it.

    Natural Drinks:
    We used to always offer a tub full of bottled water on ice so our guests would stay hydrated in the heat (especially when serving alcohol). I’ve discovered the error of my ways and now serve up iced water in a glass jug filled with lemons, limes, or even refreshing cucumber slices. Looking for locally brewed beer? Check out BeerTown to find a craft brewer near you. If vino is more your speed, Chartrand Imports offers a list of sites that sell organic wine by state.

    Savvy Serving:
    Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels or paper napkins. You can find them on sale and you can use them over and over again. Use reusable or compostable plates, cups and silverware to minimize waste. There are some wonderful serving dishes made from sustainable resources or recycled materials. Check out these bamboo bowls and recycled glass platters.

    Eco Cleanup:
    Don’t dump the half-empty glasses of water down the drain! Pour them all into a bucket and use that water to refresh your potted plants, yard, or indoor plants. It goes without saying that all cans and bottles should be recycled. Leftover vegetables can go into your compost pile or you can send plates of leftovers home with your guests.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Renewable Energy - Not More Oil


    I just cringe whenever I hear Bush and McCain talking about our need to increase off-shore drilling to solve today’s high cost of fuel. What’s sad is that they are playing on our fears (and pocketbooks) to make more money for themselves. Increased drilling will not have an impact on our immediate oil supply and therefore will not reduce the cost of gas today, tomorrow, or even next year.

    I am feeling the pain at the pump with everyone else but in all honesty, it’s a necessary evil. This is the wakeup call that we have so desperately tried to avoid. We can’t hit that snooze button any longer – it’s time to do something different (and that’s NOT drill for more oil).

    It’s time to change our way of thinking, our way of doing, our way of living. Can’t afford a hybrid? Carpool with your neighbors. Take the bus. Drive a scooter. WALK!!

    In the meantime, sign this online petition to let your governor know that you want a clean energy economy based on renewable energy.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Best Green Blogs Directory

    I'm constantly searching for new environmental information, new eco-friendly products, and new green tips and was thrilled to find a blog dedicated to promoting other like-minded blogs. If you are interested in perusing a plethora of information, the Best Green Blogs Directory is a great place to start! Check it out today...

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Product Review - Eco-friendly Sandbox


    My husband and I were excited to build our son's first sandbox this summer. In my quest to be friendly to the environment, I Googled "eco-friendly sandbox" and made my purchase from PlanetGreenSpot.

    We were pleasantly surprised to see how compact the shipping box was. However, its small footprint is probably the greenest aspect of this sandbox. They also claim that the special waterproofing process done on the wood is safe for children, pets, and environment. That's great but why not take it a step (or two or three) further and use recycled plastic, FSC certified wood or renewable resources like bamboo?

    Pros: The sandbox design is unique and we love the retractable roof. It ships in a very compact box. Free shipping. Claims to be eco-friendly.

    Cons: It's made from a very soft pine that is not very sturdy. The directions and diagrams did not match the actual pieces but we figured out how to assemble it. Not really as green as I had hoped.

    So far, our son LOVES his sandbox. How long will this sandbox last? That will be the real test.

    As a side note, the owner of PlanetGreenSpot called me after reading my product review and is hopeful that the manufacturer will take further steps to make the sandbox "greener". A new version is coming soon soon and some of those ideas may be incorporated. In addition, he said that every purchased is guaranteed. Personally, I was impressed that he took the time to call me. I will definitely continue shopping with them.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    Patriotic and Eco-friendly!

    We just received our latest order from Amazon.com and were pleasantly surprised to see a small plastic envelope enclosed. This simple (postage paid) envelope allows you to donate your old cell phone to enable soldiers to phone home.

    The donated cell phones are "sold" to ReCellular in exchange for pre-paid calling cards. The calling cards are donated to the soldiers and ReCellular recycles the cell phones. What a great concept!

    This not only reduces the number of cell phones that end up in the landfills but also supports the soldiers who put their lives on the line for our country. And to think this patriotic program was actually started by a 12 and 13-year-old brother/sister team in Massachusetts. You can learn more about this program at http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/.

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Worm What?!?

    Here's a green tip for your green thumb: TerraCycle has an eco-friendly garden fertilizer made from worm poop. Yes, you read correctly...worm poop. Before you get grossed out, give it a shot! It comes in a convenient, ready-to-spray, liquefied form that you can easily spray on the leaves of plants or poured onto their soil. Plus, this Plant Food comes in reused soda bottles - talk about low impact packaging! The fertilizer works great and they have a very wide variety of eco-friendly lawn products available (fertilizers, compost, potting mix, repellants, and more). I bought my Plant Food at Home Depot but you can also check their site for other retailers and online options.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    The Joy of Soy (Candles)

    Paraffin wax is derived from crude oil, which is a limited resource that is also used to fuel our cars. Alternatively, soy wax is made from the oil of soybeans, a renewable resource that is grown here in the US. Which kind of candle would you rather have burning in your home?

    These eco-friendly soy candles have a light fragrance and are made from 100% natural soybeans and premium botanicals. In addition they:

  • Contain no pesticides or herbicides and are biodegradable
  • Burn longer, cooler, and cleaner than paraffin candles
  • Clean up easily with soap and water
  • Promote the growth and care of the environment by utilizing plants that are a renewable resource
  • Support US farmers and our domestic economy
  • Reduce our dependency on crude oil
  • Make it possible for everyone to do something good for the environment

    I absolutely LOVE these candles! They smell great, burn twice as long as paraffin candles, and are good for the environment.


  • Monday, June 23, 2008

    Line Drying Laundry


    I live in San Diego, where the yards are TINY. I really wanted to start line drying my clothes but simply didn't have the space in my yard. Then I discovered this wooden clothes drying rack and my problems were solved! Because it collapses, I just store it behind my laundry room door when I'm not using it. It's easy to expand for plenty of clothes - up to 28 feet of drying space. And it's great for indoor or outdoor use. Saves energy and money and gives your white clothes a little boost of sunshine bleach. I highly recommend this clothes dryer from Abundant Earth.

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Pick Up Three - Inspiring Video!



    Inspired? Share your thoughts and tell us how you are making a difference at your beach, park, neighborhood, etc.

    Ten Water Conservation Tips

    Water is a precious resource and I'm always looking for ways to conserve where I can. Here are some ideas to make the most of our water supply.
    1. You may have glasses half full of water around the house (especially in the summer heat). Rather than dumping the water down the drain you can use it to water your houseplants, top off the dog's water dish, or give your outdoor potted plants a refresher.

    2. Take shorter showers. This is easily accomplished by not washing your hair everyday (which is not good for your locks anyway). Just shaving 1-2 minutes off your shower time can save up to 700 gallons a month.

    3. Water your lawn in the early morning so the water has time to soak into the ground before the sun evaporates it.

    4. Use low-flush toilets or simply put a soda bottle full of water in your tank to reduce the amount of water used to refill with each flush.

    5. Run a full load of dishes in the dishwasher rather than washing by hand. Newer dishwashers do not require pre-rinsing so cut that step out if you are able to do so.

    6. Do laundry only when you have a full load and use cold water, which is just as effective as warm and takes less energy.

    7. Bust out the broom instead of hosing down your sidewalks or driveway. We call all use some exercise anyway!

    8. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving. This will save 4 gallons of water a minute!

    9. Instead of using the garbage disposal for scraps (and using water to run it) start a compost pile!

    10. Watch out for broken sprinklers, open hydrants, broken pipes and any other significant water losses in your community. Be sure to notify the property owner or the water district of the problem.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Don't pitch that PC!

    In today’s disposable age, most people are used to replacing their computers every few years. But the times they are a-changin’ and with the rising cost of gas, food, and just about everything else, it’s necessary for us to take a step back and reevaluate that new PC purchase.

    It’s not just rising costs that we need to consider. It’s also the toll we take on our lovely planet when we discard those tired computers. According to the EPA, Americans tossed an estimated 1.5 MILLION TONS of computers, TVs, scanners, printers, fax machines, and cell phones into the trash in 2005. Now that’s a lot of eWaste.

    Before you pitch (or donate) your computer for a shiny new one, check out these six easy tips to revitalize your PC and keep it running smoothly for a few more years.

    1. Add more RAM to your computer to make it faster. Today's memory-hungry software makes upgrading your computer's RAM a necessity. View this quick tutorial to learn how easy it is to upgrade your RAM.

    2. Remove unnecessary files from your computer. Be sure to empty your recycle bin on a regular basis. Delete cookies, cache files, Internet history, and temp files from your computer. These are all taking up valuable space on your hard drive and removing them will help you improve your PC performance.

    3. If you are a Windows user, you should defrag your computer on a regular basis. The easiest way to defrag your computer is to use a registry cleaner, such as PC Tune-Up. You don’t have to be a computer wiz to use this program – it even has a “Magic Button” that will do all the work for you.

    4. Dust and dirt block cooling fans and vents, which cause overheating. Remove dust from your keyboard, mouse, screen, and PC unit with a can of compressed air. Use a vacuum to remove dust from inside the case.

    5. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware protection up to date. Viruses and spyware are malicious and in addition to slowing your computer to a mind-numbing crawl, they can also steal your confidential information.

    6. Cigarette smoke residue corrodes the metal contacts and delicate circuits of your computer. As a result, your computer will run slower, freeze, and crash. If you don’t smoke, congrats! If you do smoke, keep your butts away from your PC.

    If you’ve tried all of this and you are still ready to buy a new computer, please dispose of your old one responsibly. The EPA has a list of places where you can donate or recycle your computer and other electronics.

    Contest Rules

    From time to time, companies make green products available to Radiant Ideas and we are able to give these away to our loyal readers. Generally, we’ll ask for interested parties to submit a comment or thought on the blog in exchange for a chance to win an eco-friendly gift. Here are the official rules for our eco-giveaways.

    OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

    1. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

    2. TO ENTER AND PLAY: There are two (2) ways to enter our contests. Visit the Radiant Ideas blog at www.radiantideas.blogspot.com. Locate the blog post that is promoting the contest and leave a relevant comment. If you have a blog or web site, you can also promote the contest on your site. Come back to the Radiant Ideas blog and leave a comment with the link to your blog’s promotion.

    Radiant Ideas will not be responsible for incomplete, illegible, or lost entries or for failure to receive entries due to technical failures of any kind, whether originating with sender or Sponsor. Radiant Ideas reserves the right to disqualify any entries by persons determined to be tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Eco-Giveaways.

    3. ELIGIBILITY: The Radiant Ideas Eco-Giveaways are open only to residents of the United States and Canada, who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Winners of any Eco-Giveaways are ineligible to win any other Eco-Giveaways for a period of ten (10) days from the date of the Eco-Giveaway.

    4. PRIZES: Prize values will vary for each Eco-Giveaway. If you have any questions regarding the value of a prize, please contact Radiant Ideas at support(at)radiantideas(dot)net.

    5. ODDS: Odds of winning are based on number of blog readers and responders within the contest timeframe.

    6. WINNER NOTIFICATION AND ACCEPTANCE: Winner(s) will be chosen randomly via www.random.org. The winner will be notified by Radiant Ideas via email within the following seven (7) days of the Eco-Giveaway end date to obtain the winner’s postal address. The winner’s address will be forwarded to the contest’s sponsor, who will send the prize to the winners directly. The winner(s) names will also be posted on the Radiant Ideas blog.

    Inability to reach prizewinner by email after reasonable efforts (as determined solely by Radiant Ideas) may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected. Winners may waive their right to receive a prize. Prize is nonassignable and nontransferable. No substitutions allowed. Winner is solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on the prize.

    7. PARTICIPATION: Participation in an Eco-Giveaway constitutes an agreement by each entrant to comply with these Official Contest Rules.

    8. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: By entering the Eco-Giveaway, entrant agrees that (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Eco-Giveaway, or any prize awarded, shall be resolved individually without resort to any form of class action; (2) any claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Eco-Giveaway, but in no event attorney’s fees; and (3) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than damages for actual out-of-pocket expenses.

    Green Submission Guide

    Do you have an eco-friendly product that you would like me to review? Fabulous! I love to try new products. All submissions will be reviewed to make sure they match the editorial focus of Radiant Ideas.

    1. Send an email to reviews(at)radiantideas(dot)net with your pitch. What is your product? Why will I love it? How is it good for the environment, good for the world, or good for me? How much does it cost? Where can my readers find it?

    2. If I think your product is a good fit with my blog, I will contact you with my shipping information so you can send me a sample. Submission does not guarantee a recommendation.

    3. I will make every effort to write a timely review after using your product but I cannot be held to a specific deadline.

    4. Please note that all product reviews are impartial and honest. Please be sure that your product is as wonderful and as green as you say it is.

    5. Regretfully, products cannot be returned. I do understand that there are certain circumstances where a product must be returned. In this case, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for return shipping.

    Thanks for keeping Radiant Ideas in the loop!