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.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Preventing breast cancer

It's breast cancer awareness month. Along with mammograms and self-examinations, you can prevent breast cancer by diet and exercise and reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in products. I was really touched by this video, produced by the Breast Cancer Fund.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green your date night


I should make a label called "you can green just about anything" because Practically Green has a badge on their blog on a topic I never thought about greening ... date night!

A couple of hours a month where you can go out and reconnect with your partner. Now, when my husband and I go out, the topic usually goes back to talking about raising our son. Last weekend, we were invited to a private art show so we found a sitter (hard to do lately) and made plans.

For our green date night, after the art show, we dined at Common Table, a new non-profit restaurant which is conscience about healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, local sources of food, and ethical sourcing (there is a lot more they do so make sure you read about them on their website). In my honest opinion, this is the closest we have to a certified green restaurant. I had an amazing salad that was huge along with a pizza. My husband had a steak sandwich. Our meal wasn't so bad on the pocket book either .. under $25. Everything was fresh, seasonal and handmade. We didn't have any leftovers so we didn't have to green them.

Since we live in beer heaven, it was quite possible for us then to check off drinking locally brewed beer after dinner. I will also mention that I checked off drink eco-friendly wine after our beer stop.

So what is this PG badge missing? You're already commuting by driving in a car together but why not take it a step further -- walk or bike to your destination? This could easily be done by us. We live within 1.5 miles of a shopping/dining district.

Another idea? Find a sitter that will save you some green. I have often talked to my friend Fawn about she and her husband picking one night a month and I'll watch her daughter and us visa versa by creating a sitter swap. In this economy, finding a good sitter can cost up to $10 an hour.

Remember, date night is good for the whole family. Make the time each month and unwind!

How would or do you green your date night? I would love to hear.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Green your halloween

Halloween 2009
When I started this quest to go gradually green with my family, I didn't imagine all the twist and turns this would take. I never imagine the way I celebrated Halloween with my family was not environmentally friendly.

In the last year, I've started to read a lot of green blog/news sites and in the past couple weeks, they've been brimming with ideas to "green" your this spooky holiday.

First step: have a costume swap! They way I see it, this step can go two ways ... play date or wine night with the girls. What did I choose? Wine night! I sent that link to my two friends Alissa and Diana who needed a night out and we converged on a local wine shop and indulged on a plate of fine chocolates and red wine. We were having so much fun, we shut the shop down and almost forgot to swap costumes (we did this in the dark parking lot). If you're an ambitious mom with a lot of time, if you can't swap, make your own.

Charlie Brown Lil B
Second step: Make sure the face paints/make-up you use on your kiddos is non-toxic. Since my Lil B is going to be a dragon this year, thanks to my friend Alissa, we will probably skip the face paint but this is good to remember a couple years from now when he gets to pick his own outfit.

Third step: Green your Halloween party. If you're going to throw a party, use reusable or compostable plates. Your worm bin will love you and that's less that goes in the trash. Since having a child, our invites for Halloween parties have been null (and from what I understand, this is normal when you have a young child because sitters are hard to find on that night) but I'll put this in my brain and pull it out in a couple of years.

Now, I should be saying something about candy but I don't want to take all the fun out of Halloween and have my kid years later resent me for it so my exception, let them have candy in moderation.  Simple Organic has a fabulous post on this. Dr. Greene has some suggestions for items which are good to hand out and the kiddos will enjoy.

Looking for other suggestions: Healthy World, Healthy Child, GreenHalloween.org and Green and Clean Mom are some of my go to green resources.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taking the no poo plunge

Going no poo!
You may remember that I went natural with my hair products. I told myself that after I was done with the shampoo I was using that I would give "no poo" aka baking soda a shot. Not to disappoint my readers, I started this transition recently and it hasn't been as successful as from switching from Dove to a natural product.

The first day of using a cup of water and a tablespoon of baking soda left me with fabulous hair! It felt a little thicker than usual. The second day, I was advised to not use anything in my hair while showering to give my hair a rest. The result, greasy hair, which is to be expected. There is a detox period and it's different for everyone so I just have to get used to it as my hair is dependent on getting washed everyday. On the third day, when I use the baking soda, it again, looks fabulous.

I've been using this guide to "no poo" and I have found it really helpful. If you have some tips/tricks on going no shampoo, I would love to hear them. I'm not too sure about it right now but then again, it's early.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Confessions: I like Dr. Pepper revisited

I confessed recently my love for Dr. Pepper so I was thrilled to see that there is a natural alternative called Dr. Zevia made with stevia. Here is a little video about it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kitchen to Garden via Practically Green

I'm not joking when I say I want to be like Sarah from Practically Green when I grow up. She has a great article on that very website about composting basics with links to some other great content. I spent many hours pouring through the content and this week, I got to check the box that says "I'm committed" to composting on Practically Green. Ten points for me!

If you haven't joined, Practically Green, you're missing out!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Upcycle your Halloween costumes

via Greenhalloween.org


Gather your friends and pull out your old Halloween costumes. Celebrate Greenhalloween.org's National Costume Swap this Saturday. What an awesome excuse to have a play date in your community!

Myths about composting

via WonderWorman.com
I've done plenty of research over the last few weeks on composting bins and I weighed the pros and cons of wood bins, plastic bins and just having a pile. Earth911.org is a great resource for just starting out on this journey. Their 13 common composting myths is a must read!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goal #5: Learn to compost! Setting up the bin

After working on the first five goals I set for our family, I'm finally ready to move onto #5 which is learning to compost. For this task, I called in Laurie Perez, better known as Wonder Worman, to help me set up my wood worm bin in my backyard and get going on this baby.

Instead of a boring old blog post, I decided to capture Laurie and all of her sassiness on video. I don't know a darn thing about composting so I envision probably calling the Wonder Worman hotline several times a week. She doesn't know what she's getting herself into!




Laurie also has a cool blog about her worm experiments.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jeff Tweedy, naturals products and my head is going to explode!


Kinda OK hair here, Mr. Tweedy
It is fairly safe to say, that I know more about Jeff Tweedy than green labeling, ingredients in products or natural certifications. I have often considered opening a twitter account just based solely on the fact that Jeff Tweedy has had ridiculous hair since he exited rehab for his pain killer addiction in 2004. Why do I know so much about Jeff Tweedy? I've been following his career since 1995 when I was handed Wilco's AM CD when the music director at the station I was interning for didn't want to air it (thank you Allison Steele). Oh and this beautiful thing called The Internet.

I've been struggling over understanding labels, certifications and ingredients for a month now. Last night, I almost had to take a xanax to get to sleep it was stressing me out so bad. Then I started thinking there had to be a way for me to make money and talk about Jeff Tweedy's hair. JUST KIDDING. Eventually, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I obsessed about it some more and some more. Then it hit me, why do I know so much about Jeff Tweedy? Well, I've been wasting my time over 15 YEARS reading* about him. It was then I decided that I needed to stop stressing about this and just start relaxing. 

I usually don't buy ice cream because I usually make a batch but I had put my ice cream maker away for the fall (usually only need it in the summer) and I was craving a scoop of vanilla on a fig galette I made. I ended up going with "naturally flavored" Tillamook which is an Oregon brand. As I was scooping it on my galette, I decided to take look at the ingredients and sure enough, I didn't pay close enough attention. It contained corn syrup and carrageenan (a Vaseline-like food additive and carcinogen). Going green FAIL.



The thing that ticks me off is how loosely the term "natural" is being used. At work today, I saw some hand lotion labeled "natural" on one of the nurses stations and I turned it around and noticed parabens, phthalates (artificial fragrance) and then acronyms like PEG-100 and a statement that said "only 70% of the ingredients used are natural." (note: this lotion was someone's personal lotion). How can a company consciously call a product like that natural?

My son loves vanilla wafers and graham crackers. Try finding one at your local grocery store that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. No joke, I spent 30 mins in the cookie aisle at Fred Meyer until I gave up and went to Whole Foods.

So where is a good place to start to learn about ingredients and labels? The EWG cosmetic database and the Bubble and Bee's blog have been a great resource for  learning about ingredients. I have come some way since starting this blog but I still don't quite understand some things. And this is where I need your help.

I'm not an expert on any of this and sometimes I'm not sure what to believe when I'm on the internet. I'm just learning and well, it's been a little frustrating seeing that my natural toothpaste also contains carrageenan.

Where do you go to learn about labels and ingredients? Who do you trust? Who do you not trust?

Hopefully, 15 years from now, I'll be able to say "I know more about natural products then I know about Jeff Tweedy."

*I just want to make this clear, my love of Jeff Tweedy has nothing to do with his looks but it would be nice if his hair was combed once in a while.

Goal #5: Learn to compost! About red wigglers

After working on the first five goals I set for our family, I'm finally ready to move onto #5 which is learning to compost. For this task, I called in Laurie Perez, better known as Wonder Worman, to help me set up my wood worm bin in my backyard and get going on this baby.

Instead of boring old blog post, I'm going to have a series of videos this week. First one, Laurie talks about using red wigglers and how she got into vermiculture composting.



Up tomorrow, setting up my Wonder Worman Wood Worm Bin!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My worm bin arrived

I am so excited. More to come!!!!!
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