Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Simple Wedding=A Green Wedding

I am still catching up on telling you about my recent weekend of celebration. The last thing I wanted to share with y'all from that weekend was a glimpse of my cousin's wedding. My cousin, Erin, (like everyone in our family) struggled with how to manage our large family (50 cousins on that side alone) at a wedding that she wanted to be very simple. She succeeded with grace and though she didn't exactly intend it, a gift to the planet.

The ceremony was held on her uncle's farm. A simple arch was constructed in the front yard and decorated with leaves, mums, and bales of hay. We all stood under blue skies, surrounded by cornfields to watch the brief but beautiful exchange of vows.

Then everyone moved to a barn that had been constructed for the event (but of course would be utilized later) and was decorated with twinkling lights and centerpieces of pumpkins and gourds. Dinner was a simple barbeque buffet style that had something for everyone, including vegetarians. We ate on plastic plates with plastic ware, not perfect, but all of it was collected, washed, and reused.

So let's wrap it up. Some things Erin did really well with her wedding to help the Earth:
  • She kept it simple. There was nothing we didn't need or use (favors, place cards, etc...)
  • She used things in and of nature (the mums, hay, gourds)
  • She had us outside enjoying nature
  • The food was cooked on sight with vegetarian options
  • She reused where she could
What have you seen at weddings that really works for the planet? Are you planning a wedding soon? Planning to make it green? Did you have a green wedding? Any tips?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ye Olde Toy Shoppe

As I mentioned last week, I try to limit birthday presents. But my mother-in-law shows her love through gifting so I hate to limit that love. I made compromise this year with the help of Ye Olde Toy Shoppe in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. It is near my in-laws place and it is chock-full of resale toys. Traditionally a collector's paradise, it is perfect for us because it allows Tucker to enjoy new-to-him toys without hurting (maybe actually helping) the planet and supporting a local business woman.

The walls are lined and layered with toy treasures. So much so that Tucker had trouble deciding. And while each toy is different, they all have one thing in common, they have been used and loved before and they have already made their imprint on the planet. Now it's time for a few of them to make an imprint on yet another child.

Do you have a place like this by you? Have you looked? If not, the internet is great for allowing you to buy resale. Craigslist and Ebay are great places to look even if you won't get that same magical feeling of being surrounded by a history of laughter and fun.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ending the Birthday Brouhaha

As I have mentioned briefly, my oldest son, Tucker, celebrated his 4th birthday last week. We always celebrate Tucker's birthday in the same way. If it is a school day (as it was this year) he takes a vegetarian or vegan treat to school. This year it was cupcakes (you can use an egg replacer and they won't even know the difference!).

Later in the day we go as a family to the apple orchard (on Everett's, it's off to pick out our Christmas tree). This has become our tradition and it is joyously earth-friendly in a couple ways.
  • It gets us outside and enjoying nature.
  • It shows our kids where food really comes from.
  • It allows us to stock up on apples to munch on a later cook together.
  • And it helps build a tradition that is centered around time together, not stuff.
We do get each child one birthday present each year. Although, Tucker didn't get one for the first two years just because he didn't know any better. Tucker is now old enough to request a gift. He asked for Buzz Lightyear. I searched for a used one, but could not find one and ended up buying new because it was what he really wanted. The amount of packaging in this one relatively small toy reminded me why I avoid buying new at all costs. Last year we gave him a motorcycle we found at a garage sale for $20 and he has been riding it ever since!

Of course others will want to contribute. This year I had Nana take Tucker to a really cool resale toy shop near her (more on that tomorrow). And while you can't stop everyone from buying new things, you can curtail the present brouhaha a little bit.
  • Ask for what they really need. Tucker often gets clothes because he is older and we don't have that size yet.
  • Ask for gift cards. The kids can pick out what they really want or you can use them to do fun activities together like the local putt-putt, a movie etc...
  • Ask friends and family to take your child (or you!) to do something. Spending time with someone always means more and memories will start to form with that person. An afternoon at the park can be even better then a plastic toy!
  • Plant a tree or plant together if the season allows.
  • If you do get gifts, reuse the wrapping. Set aside bags, tissue, even wrapping paper to use next time you have to give a gift. I even cut out the front of cards for art projects later.
Most importantly, change your mindset. Remember that the birthdays your kids will remember most aren't about presents, but time spent with people they love doing things they love. What simple ways and fun things have you done to celebrate with your kids?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

7-Eleven Strikes Again

You know how I love the 7-Eleven reusable Slurpee straws right? I love them even more since I read that McDonald's alone distributes 52 million meals a day. That's over 52 million plastic straws people! For just one chain!!! Yikes! Ok, so love the reusable straw idea. And I know you don't all have the bliss that is 7-Eleven. So I found you a brilliant reference where you can find your choice of the reusable. Unfortunately, you won't find it for .99 cents, but we know the Earth is worth the investment.

But I digress a little. What I wanted to tell you about from this weekend was how I have fallen in love with 7-Eleven all over again. Because I try to drink all the Slurpee I can get on the other side of my state visits, I decided to just reuse my cup (ok, this time I have to admit it was my husband's brilliant idea) and not only did the Mama E benefit, but I did too! Little did I know that 7-Eleven, like my friendly neighborhood gas station, offers a discount when you reuse your cup! Moral of the story? Take your cup and at least ask. Chances are if I have already found 2 places to reuse, you have one by you too. Has anyone found one yet? How much do you get to save per trip?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finding What You Need on the Green Frontier

I have been missing again and I apologize with the very good news that I was making lots of eco-discoveries that I am going to blog about later this week. First things first, however. And that is an important answer for a reader who gave me a brilliant idea of things to share with all of you!

The lovely Aunt Spicy had a very nice comment question on the Kimberly Sayer face cream.
She asked if it would be ok for acne prone skin. I have to admit that my skin is not, so I can't speak from experience, but I think the texture of the day cream is definitely light enough that it could work. Now, I realize what an unsatisfactory answer that I am going to do better. I am going to arm you lucky readers with some tools of your own for finding the green stuff.

I love Saffron Rouge and The Nature of Beauty. Both of them allow you to scan a bevy of green beauty products by category (face, makeup, body, etc...) and find the price range, ingredients, scents, etc...that work for you. I even found an acne section specifically on The Nature of Beauty. So there you are luckies! The beauty of the internet at your fingertips!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Product Review: Twist Sponge

Sorry I have been a little absent. Life happens you know? I am trying.

A while back I purchased a set of Twist sponges when they were featured on Delight. Twist is special because they make their sponges out of natural products, often without using dyes, and they are biodegradable. Not only that, but I found when I received mine that they ship without using plastic, primarily in recycled and recyclable packaging materials.

In my set I received a couple loofah sponges, a Euro sponge, and a pack of sponge cloths. Quite frankly I loved them all, but if you are looking for the most bang for your sponge use buck, I would go with the loofah sponge. Especially if you are someone like me who doesn't have a dishwasher and is doing them daily by hand. I feel much better about my planetary impact when I am using one of these.

Now I have seen a couple other bloggers who did not care for the loofah sponge. I will be honest, it doesn't work just like your traditional toxic sponge. It doesn't quite have the same bubbling action. That's a trade-off I am willing to make. You will have to decide for yourself. But if you are in the market for some better-for-the-Earth cleaning tools, I would highly recommend these. You can of course order online, but they are also available in many health-food-like stores.

Has anyone else tried these? What did you think? What do you use instead?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do good DVDs

I have recently enlightened you on how borrowing, renting, sharing, and otherwise not buying new DVDs helps the planet by limiting production and consumption. So far I've mentioned library and Swap-A-DVD services. Today a couple more options.

The first is the mail delivery DVD service. We use Netflix but I hear Blockbuster is a good option as well. This works really well for us because we live out in the middle of the nowhere and I don't want to waste the time or the gas it takes to drive back and forth to a store. Especially when we don't watch them nearly as quickly as we would like.

If you are someone who watches your DVDs quickly or is near civilization, Red Box is a great option. You pick up a DVD for $1 a night and drop them back off. Simple, easy, effective, and planet saving.

I suppose then there is always the typical video store option. It's funny how when we get so wrapped up in technology we forget what came first.

But the point is, no matter which option you choose, find a way to get your entertainment without costing the Earth. Make sense?

What am I missing? What other services do you use? Have you used any of these?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Product Review: Kimberly Sayer Facial Creams

I have been slacking lately and not updating y'all on products I've been trying. But fear not, I am back on the case and doing better, starting now. Finding a good face cream is hard isn't it? It's especially hard to find one that's good for you while still providing SPF protection, which is important even if you aren't ghost-white like yours truly. Oh yeah, and then it needs to be somewhat affordable!

I think I have found a great solution in Kimberly Sayer's facial creams. I have been using her Anti-oxidant Daily Moisturizing Cream SPF 25 and Tangerine and Calendula Light Night Healing Night Cream for months now. I love the way they go on smooth, blend in easily without feeling oily, and leave my skin soft and clear. A little bit goes a long way, especially with the night cream, which has a nice scent, but if you are particularly sensitive, it might be a little overwhelming.

These are by far my favorites in the face cream department so far. At $32 a pop, they are not the cheapest product out there, but they are far from the most expensive. And for skin that doesn't need makeup every day-I'll take it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fabulous Earring Inspiration

One more post from my adventures in the Big Apple. So I am sitting in my meeting Sunday trying to concentrate on the topic at hand, but my distraction keeps getting pulled away by my colleagues really great earrings. After our meeting I complimented her and took a closer look, which is when I realized (gasp!) not only were they cool, but they were made from upcycled photography parts! Her husband actually made them for her. I immediately asked if he sells them, hoping to pass her good fortune onto you-no luck. But fear not faithful readers! I have gone out in search of goodies for you too!

On Etsy I found this fabulous pair made from film negatives.

If you prefer a slightly different film negative look, there are these.

And finally, if you are looking for a more literal interpretation, there are these film canister earrings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Greenspotting in NYC

This weekend in New York City wasn't all fun and meetings for me. I also had my eyes peeled for cool green stuff...and I found some. Most notable were the green roofs that seem to sprouting up all over the city. The picture above was taken out my hotel window. What a gorgeous green oasis in the middle of Manhattan! And this one was directly across from the office I was in:

It was wonderful to see evidence of people utilizing what would be wasted space to make the city a little healthier and more beautiful. Have you seen any green roofs lately? Any other signs of nature in the city?