Expressing Thanks to Our Planet

Expressing Thanks to Our Planet

Thanksgiving week is a great time to reflect not only on what we have to be grateful for, but also on ways we might better express gratitude as we go about our daily lives.  I received “10 Tips” from the Environmental Defense Fund that I’d like to share with you: Recycle and buy minimally packaged goods as much as possible Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot. Install low-flow shower heads to use less water Run the dishwasher only when full and don’t use heat to dry Replace standard light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models Walk, bike, carpool when possible Adjust your thermostat  — lower as the weather cools Share these simple steps with friends and family! Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday… I am so thankful for all the amazing people in my life — loved ones and strangers who happen in my life, sometimes just long enough to share a moment of kindness or revelation.  Among all my blessings, I’m grateful to have so many opportunities to keep learning, and to share whatever I learn with all of...

Favorite Recent Finds

Every so often, I like to update you all with some recent finds. Here’s the latest scoop: Fashion: “Elite” Rain Boots by Earth Yes, I live in the desert, but even we have the monsoon season!  I love all my vegan shoes, and the last thing I want is to have them ruined in the rain.  Also, given the chance, I happen to like dancing — and singin’ — in the rain; I insist on looking fashionable while I do it, however.  My new Elite rain boots (which I found at Mooshoes) are practical, stylish, and comfortable. Food:  Candle Cafe Cookbook Specifically, the Asian-Baked Tofu recipe.  A block of tofu doesn’t look like anything too special, but I’m telling you a mouthful of this recipe is an explosion of flavor!  It took me a while to start using this cookbook because the recipes tend to have more ingredients than those in my other books.  In reality, the recipes are nothing too complex or time-consuming.  I’ve already tried several recipes… all fantastic!  I love the NYC restaurant Candle 79, and I love this cookbook.  A little piece of home for me here in Tucson, every time I cook something up! Household: Seventh Generation Dishwasher Powder I have used Trader Joe’s Dishwasher Powder for a long time; but there are weeks when visits to multiple stores is just not as do-able, so this is a great option for when I do the week’s shopping all at The Whole Foods Market. Personal Care & Cosmetics: Alba Botanica Natural Acne-dote So happy I found this simple, effective, and inexpensive deep pore wash.  As someone who...

Seventh Generation

When I had to set up my apartment from scratch in Washington DC for my summer stay, I made a trip to the Whole Foods Market on 15th Street and stocked up on a bunch of Seventh Generation supplies. Here are some of my favorite Seventh Generation products, many of them staples in my home. Garbage bags Plastic bags are catastrophic to the environment and animals.  Miles of plastic bags are floating in our oceans and devastating marine life.  See my blog entry on plastic bags from last spring (Plastic Bags – so passé!) to read in more detail.  Bottom line: we need to use biodegradable when we can, and reduce our plastic use overall.  SG’s Kitchen Trash Bags are made from 55% recycled plastic.  Tip: the bottom of these bags tends to open up along the perforation; I just take the two ends and tie them together in a knot before placing in the trash bin “Free & Clear” Natural Dish Liquid & Automatic Dishwasher Powder Non-toxic & biodegradable, hypoallergenic, free of phosphates — and the dish liquid’s bottle contains 90% post-consumer recycled plastic. “Free & Clear” Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets I can’t tell you how many times people’s comment to me about eco-friendly laundry products is that they just don’t do as good a job.  I think SG works well…  I’ve used the both the powder and the liquid detergent. I’m a huge fan of the “Free & Clear” line: I want my laundry really clean, which to me doesn’t mean ridding my clothes of dirt and then infusing the items with a bunch of chemicals...

Elephant Dung Paper

It was back in July 2009, when I first looked into cruelty-free alternatives for the home office, that I came across this idea of making paper out of elephant dung.  Sounds crazy, huh?  It sounded intriguing to me but, admittedly, a little “out there.”  Well, my second great discovery at the TAFA conference last month was, more than a year after my initial office-supplies search, finally getting to meet Mr. Ellie Pooh, maker of elephant dung paper: I got to actually see the paper up close, hold it, feel it.  And I have to say… it really is the shizzle.  The sheets have a wonderful texture — an all-natural feel, with visible fibers running though it.  A soft, papyrus-like paper.  Does it look like something that came from poop?  Not at all!  It looks like something I picked up from a high-end stationery store on the Upper West Side. So what’s the story with this paper?  It originates from Sri Lanka, home to a tenth of the total population (40,000) of Asian elephants.  In Sri Lanka, the elephants have been in peril because they wreak havoc on farmers’ lands: elephants roam… and they also eat a lot!  So a creative approach to helping these animals has been to find a way to make them contribute something to the farmers’ lives, rather than being solely a detriment.  Now, the elephants are living, breathing paper mills — a resource for money (and jobs) for many of the people in Sri Lanka.  Now, if someone looks like he’s about to shoot an elephant, it’s more likely a neighbor will say, “hey, wait...

Online Megastores Make It Easy!

I’ve moved around quite a bit, but it’s always been from one city to another, which means I’ve been incredibly fortunate to always have access to so much — museums, theaters, restaurants, and great shopping.  While some cities have been better than others in terms of options (especially when it comes to vegetarian-friendly places), I’ve never had much of a challenge in finding places that suit my lifestyle.  I remember when I was once visiting a friend in Pendleton, Oregon — a charming little town about three hours from Portland — I was struck by the fact that the only place to buy CDs in town was the Super-Walmart.  Yikes.  Working in the music industry at the time, this was a revelation for me: for any non-mainstream music, Pendleton’s population had to rely on the internet to hear about independent artists and buy their music.  An instant new appreciation for online shopping. The same is true when it comes to cruelty-free alternatives.  I realize not everyone has a Whole Foods Market nearby, or a handful of vegetarian/vegan restaurants to choose from on a Saturday night.  So maybe some of you out there are reading my posts and thinking, if only I lived in a location that made this possible… Take heart, there are a couple of online sources for you that will bring cruelty-free alternatives to your doorstep! VeganEssentials.com In business since early 1998, Vegan Essentials is one of the US’s oldest cruelty-free retailers, based in Wisconsin. The online store is truly a one-stop shopping destination.  Just check out the sale categories that really run the gamut: Babies &...
Kiss My (Moisturized!) Face

Kiss My (Moisturized!) Face

“A core element of our mission is having a 360 degree view of how our products… and everything it takes to get them to you… affect our planet.” The fact that the Kiss My Face guys incorporated this perspective into their mission statement makes me even more wild about their products. What’s to like about Kiss My Face: They do not test on animals and do not use animal ingredients They use sustainable, plant-based ingredients that are gentle on us and on the planet They use post-consumer recycled materials for packaging, as well as for any displays and brochures They’re not only eco-friendly — they’re also economically friendly.  Great products and prices that will fit the budget. Kiss My Face makes soaps, shower gels, toothpaste, lip balm and lip gloss, shave cream, deodorants, moisturizers, hair shampoos and conditioners, organic facial care and sun care.  They also have Kiss My Face for Kids – a line of soaps, shampoos, suncare, and toothpaste especially for the little ones — I’ll be stocking up for the next time my almost 4 year-old nephew comes to visit!  So cute (the products… and my nephew Nicholas)! My personal faves: Liquid Moisture Soaps I use these pump-soaps for the bathroom at my yoga studio and also have used them in my home.  The pear scent is really nice, and I’m happy to report that KMF is also making their soaps paraben-free now.  In my DC apartment, I bought the “fragrance-free” for both the bathroom and kitchen sink areas.  (about $6.00 each).  For those of you who like bar soaps, try the Olive Oil Bar Soap...