Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What do Sun Chips and Baby Wipes have in common?

I love Elements Naturals Compostable Baby Wipes! Why? 1) They were developed by Bendite Linda Naerheim. 2) They feel and are amazing 3) They are good for the environment. We've become good friends since we met in a focus group when I was pregnant with my son so I am biased about her wipes but I have tried others and I keep coming back to Elements Naturals.

I've recently had the pleasure of helping Linda make some fun videos about her product which is made out of the same stuff as the compostable Sun Chips bags. No, her wipes aren't obnoxiously loud! Oh, just watch the video and you'll know what I'm talking about:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Confessions: I like Dr. Pepper

I have a confession to make -- I love Dr. Pepper. I know! I know! It's full of high fructose corn syrup but I still indulge in one at least once a week. I know it's bad for me and Diet Dr. Pepper isn't any better! It almost tastes like chocolate in a can.

What is your guilty pleasure? I'm swamped this week with visitors, events and a concert so spill it -- I want to know.

(I'll be back next week with some really cool stuff -- I promise!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you tried castile soap?

Image vis Dr. Bronners
Every time I pick up a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap to check it out, I go cross-eyed. The packaging is so busy that it hurts my head. I've been recently coming across different uses for castile soap but have been hesitant to buy it because the marketing person in me wants to scream "the packaging drives me nuts!"

Anyway, I saw a great article on buying it in bulk and making hand soap, shampoo or body wash with it. It's so versatile, you can even use it to clean your house, pets, vegetables and wash your clothes.

Do you use this? What are your thoughts? I heard it's extremely gentle and good for those with sensitive skin along with being biodegradable. I just have to get over the bad packaging and purchase some.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DYI tomato scrub via Michelle Phan

Michelle Phan has a variety of DYI beauty video on YouTube.com and this one by far is one of my favorites. She also has a bunch of people making videos reviewing her tomato scrub. Some of them are hilarious!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beauty tricks using baking soda

Image via Good.is

I recently bought a box of baking soda for .89 cents. You want to know what I did with it? I made homemade deodorant. Although I am a big fan of Soapwalla, I wanted to make my own to see if it worked just as well. I mixed together coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot which then thickened and I put in an old deodorant container. So far, it's been working awesome.

I recently ran across this article from GOOD on other ways to use baking soda. I'm putting some of these on my list to try out though I'm unsure I want to brush my teeth with baking soda.

Do you have a beauty trick using baking soda?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dirty dozen fish list

I'll be honest with you ... I'm not a big fish eater. About the only fish I do eat is when I go out for sushi which is not too often.

Now, everyone is familiar with the dirty dozen list for vegetables and fruites but I recently discovered a dirty dozen list for fish! Consider yourself informed!

Conditioner on the cheap: vinegar!

image courtesy of Heinz


I had someone stop me the other day to tell me how shiny and healthy my hair looked and were really interested in the products I used. They were surprised to find out that I use a natural shampoo (I plan on going no shampoo and just baking soda and water pretty soon though) and apple cider vinegar for conditioner.

So what's the recipe? It's simple. Take an 8 oz bottle  and fill with a 1/4 cup of either white or apple cider vinegar, add warm water and shake. After washing your hair with shampoo or baking soda solution, rinse with the vinegar solution. Really work it through your hair with your hands and make sure you rinse it all out.

I do have some tips though that I wish someone would have clued me in on. 1) Put warm water in the bottle. Sure, cold water really woke me up in the morning but it wasn't pleasant the first go around. 2) Tilt your head back and apply the rinse. When you tilt your head down, the rinse might get into your eye (well, in my case, it did and it stung). 3) Use as often as you have to. I only use it once a week but remember, I have short hair. I'm pretty sure if my hair was longer, I would have to use it more often.

Do you have any vinegar conditioning tips? I would love to hear.

Show me what you look like without make-up

The beautiful ladies at No More Dirty Looks have another challenge going ..
All we want is a picture and a promise. One day this week, leave the house—go to work, go do groceries, go to a restaurant—without makeup. Also, as we’ve done above, send us a picture of your bare-as-a-baby’s-butt face to share on the nets.
So that is what I did today which worked out nicely considering I went to bed at midnight and was awoke by my 2 year old at 4 a.m. I'm tired and on my third cup of coffee.

I don't wear much make-up ... usually only wear concealer, blush and mascara. My face always seems red but I don't like the heavy feeling of foundation -- even mineral foundation so concealer is perfect. I also have an age spot I like to hide from the public. I can't believe at 35 years old, I have one!

I challenge my readers to do this and send me and the ladies at No More Dirty Looks your photo by this Saturday!

Good luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going green without going broke: Organic edition

Image via neal1960

I used to think that going organic and eco-friendly would break the bank. Over the past 10 years, I've seen the price gap between organic products and non-organic products narrow as the demand has gone up but still the other day I was at Costco and I was having a dilemma with over buying chicken ... organic farm raised was double the price over Foster Farms. I went with the organic farm raised but OUCH.

Here are some tips and tricks I've learned over the last few years when it comes to buying organic:

1. Join a CSA in the spring and share with another family. My CSA costs $11 a week and it dictates our meals. Sure, we have the pay the price all up front but in the end, I've seen my grocery bill go down during those 26 weeks. What we don't eat, I freeze and pull out during the winter.


2. If you shop the farmer's market or local natural food store, go at the end of the market or day and the farmers/owners may cut you a deal. I haven't tried this but a friend reported to me that this is often what she does.


3. Clip coupons! Sign up for Your Green Helper and they will do the work for you. They look at the coupons in the Sunday paper and show you how to combine it with sales happening at the grocery stores and Whole Foods. I shop Whole Foods often and the cashier was shocked at how much I saved.


4. Buy store name or house brand organics. A good majority of the time "plain label" as I call them, are cheaper and often are private labels of big name brands. This is mainly why I haven't discontinued my Costco membership. One of my favorite items is their oatmeal. It's organic and doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup and it's quick to make when I'm on the run in the morning. Throw in some nuts and I'm good until lunch.


5. Buy your meat from a local farmer. I used to buy my meat in bulk at Costco a few times a year and freeze it. One day, I added up the cost of what I spend in bulk meat items at Costco and figured I could save some money by buying local from a rancher in Prineville. I also discovered that the organic ground beef was either raised in the US, Canada or Australia. Have I done this yet? This is on my list to do soon as I run out of meat and I'm about there.


6. Eat and freeze with the season. The rule of supply and demand drive the prices down. Summer is when I often freeze strawberries, blueberries and peaches to bring out and brighten our tummies during the winter months. I also make my own freezer jam which comes in handy during the winter months.


7. If you have a Trader Joes, stop on in. They have competitively priced produce (just check where it was grown), No rBST in the dairy products and they're line of products don't contain GMO, preservatives, MSG or added trans fats. Eco-novice has more on this.

8. Grow one thing. My husband and I have committed to growing something in 2011. We are still deciding but we're leaning towards squash and pumpkins which go very easily where we live.

Have a tip? I would love to hear it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Organic fail


You know, I would like to know exactly where my beef is from, Costco. And not sourced from three places!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

How to avoid genetically modified food

I have to admit, I didn't know this term until last year and it's sad that a lot of our country is kept in the dark on this. Here is a great article that will help you understand the genetically modified food and why you should avoid it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the fence: going no shampoo

Image via bestofbakingsoda

This week I'm going to talk about things I'm on the fence about. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment, feel free to email me privately at shannon at workingmomgoesgreen dot com.


I'm on the fence about going "no poo" as in no shampoo. Yes, I'm using Bubble and Bee Organic Hair Care for shampoo along with vinegar as a conditioner and I love both but part of me wants to go even more natural and try just baking soda. Part of me wishes I only had to wash my hair a couple times a week instead of every day. But there is a part of me that enjoys the smell of a good shampoo.

Are you using baking soda as a shampoo?  Any tips/tricks?

P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Free tire recycling in Bend

via HackBend.com I saw a link regarding Deschutes County's free recycling event this weekend.

September 18, 2010 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Knott Landfill Recycling & Transfer Facility. Bring those old snow tires and balding retreads from the garage, back yard, or neighborhood. Limit of 12 tires per load. If you have more than 12 please call the Solid Waste office. Tires can be on or off the rim but keep them separated. Only tires with rim size of up to 24 1/2" can be accepted. Call 541-317-3163 for more information. No heavy equipment tires, retailers or fleet tires.
I don't have any tires laying around but I thought maybe my local readers might.

On the fence: Local vs. organic

Picking up peaches in Hood River
This week I'm going to talk about things I'm on the fence about. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment, feel free to email me privately at shannon at workingmomgoesgreen dot com.

All summer I have been telling my husband that we need to drive to Hood River and pick apples, peaches and pears and support local. Local to me means Oregon grown. This means something different to everyone. Locavores try to eat within 100 miles and granted Hood River was about 135 miles, to me that is still local. (And yes, I'm aware we drove our car and used gas to get there.)

We belong to a CSA and I shop the Friday farmer's market most weeks but I wanted to take it a step further with my fruit. Earlier in the summer, I bought organic strawberries from the farmer's market and make freezer jam and froze some (along with blueberries) to pull out throughout the winter.

The day before our road trip, I did some digging on places to stop and I was hitting a road block -- local doesn't necessarily mean organic.  Local supports the Oregon economy which trickles down into the community. Local tastes better (and local and organic tastes better). Sure, I could go buy organic peaches year round but they might have been grown oversees. Look at the labels! Recently, I bought my son organic apple slices at Trader Joes. They were grown in Chile. Local fail on my part.

So we came home with our apples, peaches and pears and I used my veggie wash. I felt good about supporting local. I ended up making peach freezer jam, an apple pie and feasted on pears and bleu cheese.

So my new rules: Local and organic first. If you can't find both, go local if your options are US made versus overseas. If you have to buy local that isn't organic,  wash it well if it's on the dirty dozen list. Shop seasonally too. It tastes better.

I'm still on the fence a bit. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the fence: toothpaste

Image via FranIlloa
This week I'm going to talk about things I'm on the fence about. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment, feel free to email me privately at shannon at workingmomgoesgreen dot com.

I have recently spent too much time in the toothpaste aisle and I'm torn. You see, I made the switch to a natural toothpaste but everything I was finding contained sodium lauryl sulfate (it makes your beauty products foam) and carrageenan, both suspected carcinogens. Basically the difference was one toothpaste was fluoride-free and the other contained fluoride. I went with fluoride-free since we're trying to make better choices but really, is this a better choice?

I have read the effects of fluoride and this is where I'm on the fence ... is it really that bad? Yes, in large doses but I'm not ingesting it by the truckload and I have a real life fluoride/non-fluoride story in my own house.

I grew up in an area where fluoride was in our tap water. My husband didn't. My teeth are wonderful and I've hardly had any problems. My husband, on the other hand, has horrible teeth. Even our dentist pointed out when examining my teeth that he could tell that they were strong because of the tap water versus my husband's teeth.

All in all, the reality of it is the old toothpaste vs. the new toothpaste only have a one point difference in the Skin Deep EWG database. And the both toothpastes are manufactured by the same company. Can you see why I'm on the fence about this?

I would love to hear your opinions on this. Please feel free to share.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Energy hungry products to pitch

Image courtesy of EcoSalon.com

A long time ago, we ditched paying for over-priced water in plastic bottles for a BPA free container but do you know the other energy hungry products. Thanks to EcoSalon, we do now.

I'm sorry to admit, we violoate the other 4 on this list and this stat via the article about cardboard boxes is shocking and sad:
Making one ton of cardboard uses some 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water and 42,00 kilowatts of energy.
YIKES.

Going green gradually is a learning process, but wow, that's a lot of energy.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Other reusable stuff

It's always good to not throw away so much and put things into landfills. I take my lunch to work most days to avoid running out and eating fast food. Yes, I will admit, I will eat a fast food item in a pinch, yes, shame on me but over the years, I've done this less and less. Now, if I have to run in a pinch, I spend $5 at the local food cart.

My typical lunch bag will contain a banana, peanut butter, a slice of bread, carrots, hummas, seasonal fruit and cheese -- mostly in plastic bags which I throw away and ends up in the landfills. Almost as bad as eating McDonalds, I would venture to say. This was really sorta saddening until I saw a product called Lunchskins.

Image courtesy of Lunchskins
Again, like the coffee cup, I'm part of the 20 million plastic baggies hitting the landfills each year. So, I went to their website and ordered two of each and have been in love ever since. They brighten up my lunch bag and are so cute they will make you smile big. They are easy to use and washable by hand or in the dishwasher (I prefer to handwash and air dry).

There are a variety of websites out there that sell reusable items for your lunch that I discovered mainly from eco-friendly back to school posts on blogs. Reuseit.com is a great source for items if you need some ideas.

I've recently also done away with paper napkins at our house too. We'll be using cloth washable napkins to save trees starting this week.

Have other tips for me? As always, I would love to hear them.

P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recycling resources

image courtesy of Greenists.com
Want to be better at recycling? I found this awesome article via The Greenists regarding online recycling resources available that kick booty. I could spend hours on all of these site so I thought I would share. You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Goal #4 Use reusable products

I took the liberty to modify our family's going green goals. To me, using a reusable grocery bag was already a habit though I really started using them more for groceries lately. I just keep two in my purse and whip them out at any store now (TJ Maxx, the produce stand, a specialty boutique). So I modified goal #4 from using my grocery bags more to use reusable products more.

What does that mean.... Case in point:
Reusable cute looking coffee cup to the right of the computer.
How many times a week do I get coffee on the go? Too many, to be quite honest and I then I started to add up how much my husband and I were spending on coffee and then I was even more embarrassed. If we could just save that money up each month for one year, we'd be able to take that Mediterranean cruise we have always dreamed of.  So I started to make coffee at home. My husband is NOT a fan of this. He likes to drive up to Dutch Brothers and get his coffee because he goes there so much, they know him and his drink, even if we've switch cars for the day. His Dutch Brothers cup is his signature at work meetings. It's a part of him. Breaking this habit has not been fun for him so we've been slowing getting there.

Last week, I saw a shocking stat that blew my mind and gave me the opportunity to not be putting coffee cups in landfills, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year anymore -- Americans will consume an estimated 23 billion paper coffee cups in 2010.  Yes, I'm Shannon and I'm part of this problem.


I began my mission, to find a cute travel coffee cup to carry to work in the morning and in my purse for the rest of the day. Sure, I had two Starbucks Travel mugs (that probably contain BPA) but I wanted to try out the latest in travel mugs -- the ceramic mug.


I was about to order one through Reuseit.com when I discovered a really cute orange flowered one with a rubber lid at World Market (similar to the one linked, pictured above to the left of my computer). I have been using it ever since and am in love. 


What reusable products have you started using? This is actually just the start for me, as you'll see over the next few days, we've made the switch in a few other area. 


P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post

Killer Cart Cuisine

Here is my lunch today: sweet potato curry soup and a grilled peach, bacon, peanut butter, avocado sandwich. Sounds like a strange combo but it was amazing. Thanks Soupcon!
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall on the brain

Here is a little teaser to our whim road trip. I have peach freezer jam, apple crisp and pear salad on the brain. Yum.
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Foods for glowing skin


Want amazing skin without all the harsh chemicals? EcoSalon summed it up best:
You are what you eat – or so we’ve heard over and over again until it makes us want to run out and eat a Big Mac. But there’s a reason celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Gwyneth Paltrow seem to obsess over their macrobiotic-vegan-fermenty things. (All in that order, most likely.) If you eat well, you’re going to look well.
Read more about 7 Foods for Eating Your Way to Healthy, Radiant Skin

(image via EcoSalon)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Propane in my shaving cream: The interview

Yes, a video! This is my first one so I decided to interview my husband about his shaving cream. He's such a good sport!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Going natural with your body care products

Now that we made the switch with our shampoos and conditioner, it is on to facial moisturizer and cleanser, lotions and lip balms.

For starters, I took a look at Healthy World, Health Child's list of trusted brands and decided to take Yes to Carrots for a spin since they taut that they are Petroleum, SLS & Paraben Free. I bought the Day Moisturzier with SPF 15 and Yes to Cucumbers Facial Cleaning Gel. My old beauty routine was Olay moisturizer and plain soap as a cleanser. I'm blessed with really good skin so I never really have used a facial cleanser.  The moisturizer isn't too greasy and is pretty light and I like the smell of the cucumber cleanser.

Image via cafemama
Next up was lotion! This was easy -- coconut oil. Yes, the stuff you cook with and yes, it's amazing on your skin! I first heard about this when I was on maternity leave and was attending a moms with newborns group. My husband thought I was nuts until he started using it and he's a firm believer of it and not afraid to go out smelling like pina colodas! A little goes a long way so you don't have to use too much. When I was a kid, my mom used to also use olive oil on her skin when it was really dry so that works as well. Both work best right when you get out of the shower and keep you hydrated all day.

For some variety, I did purchase a Bubble and Bee Coconut and Lime Lotion Stick and Rasberry and Vanilla Body Butter. A little goes a long way and you smell so awesome, someone might want to eat you.The lotion stick I keep in my purse for when I'm out of the house as it's convenient to use.

Since I was already purchasing shampoo, shower gel and lotions, I thought I would also take the Bubble and Bee lips balms for a spin. They had a deal on lip balms and since I keep them everywhere I ordered five ... one for my purse, work desk, kitchen, bathroom. They smell amazing and I don't find myself as addicted to them like the petroleum based lip balms.

I don't think I'm done searching for body care products as I mentioned above. I might venture into making my own using to cut down on the cost.

If you have a recommendation, comment or suggestion, let me know. I would love to hear it!

P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post

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