Friday, March 30, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #13: Safe for Hair? BGLH Reports

Seems like people are over shampooing these days. A couple of my friends have mentioned that they use baking soda as an alternative. My favorite natural hair care blog, Black Girl Long Hair, offers an examination of the pros and cons of using baking soda to clean hair.
Famous No Poo'er, Richard Glover


Do you include baking soda in your hair care ritual? I don't. I'm kinda hooked on Beautiful Curls and the benefits of baking soda don't seem to be overwhelming in comparison to sulfate-free natural products, but I'm curious to read about your experiences.

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY Earring Display from Aye' Shanti Designs

My friend, the brilliant accessories designer Shanti, shows us how to make a gorgeous unique crochet earring display. Visit her blog for a step-by-step tutorial.


Finally a cute way to organize my post earrings!

Check it out, along with her fabulous Caribbean inspired journals and jewelry, at Aye' Shanti Designs.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Sarah Copeland's Newlywed Cookbook is too beautiful!

I just wanted to share the gorgeous promotional "movie" for The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and for Each Other. I wish our at home meal experiences were like this. It's inspiring me to step up my game from defrosted veggie dogs!



The book looks equally lovely. Lots of great colorful images of fresh produce and other ingredients. I probably won't buy it for myself as it's not particularly vegan-friendly, but it has tons of recipes featuring wholesome foods I imagine would entice omnivores couples who want to enjoy healthy, soulful meals at home together.

Pink Olive, my favorite stationary and baby gift shop is hosting a party to celebrate the book on Saturday, April 21 2-5pm. I hope to stop by.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #12: Treat Bug Bites & 50 More Uses!

One of my favorite green living resources, care2.com has an article listing a whopping 51 fantastic uses for baking soda! My favorite tip from their list:
Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin
For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower. For specific tips on bee stings, see Bee Stings: Prevention and Treatment.
I can say from personal experience with mosquito and flea bites that this doesn't look too glamorous but it really provides relief.

Bee at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. (He did not sting me.)
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html#ixzz1q5V6gsKg

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Share Downsizing & DIY Ideas with Krrb

I recently teamed up with Krrb (@krrbsale) to share tips on downsizing and to show how to make your own laundry detergent.  Here's an excerpt:
Sometimes your life is cluttered with items that were once useful but aren’t needed anymore. It’s why Olivia says every few months you need to reexamine your belongings for what is really necessary. People’s lives and in turn, their priorities are always shifting. When our needs change, it’s an opportunity to share with other people, says Olivia. 
"Krrb is a fun, friendly and safe place to connect with your neighbors for local and in-person commerce" (buying, selling, renting, giving, and trading). It's like the love child of Craiglist and Etsy. Please join the community by April 8th to enter their Sell Everything contest and maybe win an iPhone 4S. You can also check out my Krrb corner featuring craft books, fake hair, and other random things I need to get rid of.

Let's face it, I'm never going to learn to knit!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #11: Ideas from HuffPo

The Huffington Post shared "5 New Uses for Baking Soda" this week in their Repurposing Ideas series. I love the idea of leaving an open box in the bathroom to absorb funk. What a healthy alternative to toxic plug-in air fresheners! I'm picking up a box to hide behind my toilet tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #10: Remove Marks From Walls

If you live with a little Picasso, this tip will come in handy. A little baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth can be rubbed onto painted walls or wall paper to remove crayon and pencil marks. (Exception: Walls covered with matte paint. You may just end up rubbing your designer color off too!)


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #9: Facial Scrub

Baking soda offers a very mild scrubbing and anti-bacterial action. Pair it with soothing honey, which reduces inflammation and is also anti- bacterial, and you've got one helluva facial scrub.



Recipe and application instructions from No More Dirty Looks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #8: Clean Combs and Brushes


  1. Remove as much hair as possible from your brushes and combs. Tip: An easy way to get hair out of a brush is to pull it out with a comb. 
  2. Fill a large mixing bowl with hot water. Dissolve about 1 tsp of baking soda in the water.
  3. Put in the combs and brushes and soak them for an hour.
  4. If the brush bristles are still a little grimy, pass a comb through it rather aggressively.
  5. If the comb is still a little grimy, use a toothbrush to scrub the teeth.
  6. Rinse with hot water.
  7. Place on a towel to air dry.
P.S. I don't use hairbrushes or combs regularly, but when I need to untangle my kinky afro I love Olivia Garden brush, and not just because the name is awesome. Ha ha! If you have 4A hair too, what kind of brush do you use?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
Follow on Bloglovin
Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #7: Wash Fruits and Vegetables

I've read claims that veggie wash can remove chemicals from fresh non-organic produce. I'd not really sold on that one, but washing them to remove dirt seems like a good idea. I usually don't wash produce until right before I'm about to eat, but considering the fact that so much produce is sold cleaned, bagged, and chopped, if you have a way to dry it and bag it, you could do lots in advance.

Leafy greens usually need a good cleaning.
  1. Fill a clean sink basin, a large bowl, or stock pot with about a gallon of cold, preferably filtered, water. 
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Let it dissolve.
  3. Add your produce and allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Use a vegetable brush to remove dirt from root veggies.
  5. Rinse, rinse, rinse! 
Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #6: Kitty Litter Box Freshener

If your cat can't use the toilet yet...
Cover the bottom of a kitty litter box with an entire small box of baking soda. Cover that with a layer of kitty litter about three inches deep. You'll still need to scoop out solids, but this should keep things pHresher and extend the amount of time in between full litter box cleanings.

Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #5: Put out a fire

You can put out a small grease or electrical fire with by engulfing the flames with LOTS and LOTS of baking soda.


Please note that this is Plan B. Plan A, if you're lucky enough that it's in a pan, is to cover the pot or pan with a fitted lid. Plan C is to use a little Class B fire extinguisher. In that case, be prepared to do lots of cleaning up, but, hey, at least you'll have a kitchen to clean! Plan D is to call 911 to reach the fire department and to pray.

Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #4: Underarm Deoderant

Sprinkle baking soda under each freshly cleaned and dried armpit. Done!


I've tried this with limited success (vodka works best for me), but lots of people swear by it.

Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #3: Handwash Dishes, Pots & Pans

For cooked-on foods, fill or cover grimy part of pots and pans with hot water. Add a sprinkle of baking soda  and a small squirt of dish detergent to each pot and pan. Use your best judgement regarding amounts, but you really don't need that much. Allow to soak. Then use dry baking soda on a damp sponge or cloth as a scratch-less scouring powder.

You can also pre-soak rinsed dishes in a sink full of hot water, baking soda, and dish detergent.

Now you're totally ready to bake vegan lasagna and do the dishes too!


Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #2: Bathroom Scour Power

For a no-scratch cleaning of bathroom tubs, tile, and sinks–even fiberglass and glossy tiles–sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge. Make sure it's not too damp since baking soda dissolves in water. Scrub as usual.  Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. This is a good alternative to Ajax and Comet.

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you'd like to add a fantastic natural fragrance. Oils like thyme and lavender will give you some antibacterial punch.

I like to save tiny artichoke hearts jars to create a dispenser to store baking soda for this purpose. Punch a dozen holes in the lid with a nail and hammer and voila, you've got a reusable shaker.

Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spotlight on Baking Soda #1: What, where, and how

What is baking soda?
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occurring crystalline compound. Another name for baking soda is bicarbonate of soda.


Where does baking soda come from? How is it made?
All of the baking soda used in the US, and 25% of baking soda used worldwide, comes from the vast trona mines of Green River, WY.  Trona is a naturally-occurring mineral that is chemically known as sodium sesquicarbonate. Trona is the raw material which is refined into soda ash. The soda ash is then dissolved in water and bubbled with carbon dioxide, and voila, baking soda!

Trona mine
What makes baking soda so special?
With a pH of 8.4, baking soda is a mild alkaline (base). This means it's great at neutralizing acids. Lots of smelly things are acidic. For example, most healthy dogs' and cats' urine has pH of 5.5 to 7 and sour milk has pH of 4.3 to 4.5. Baking soda neutralizes the pHunk. Ha ha!

The fine crystal texture of baking soda makes it mildly abrasive. This is good for scrubbing jobs when you need something to remove grime without scratching gentle surfaces.

Baking soda is a popular leavening agent in baking, especially vegan baking since eggs (also a leavening agent) are absent. In combination with a liquid and an acid-- lemon juice, milk, vinegar-- baking soda undergoes a chemical reaction that releases bubbles of carbon dioxide. Trapped in batter or dough, these carbon dioxide bubbles enable the baked good to rise.

Wanna know more?
I'll be blogging about uses for baking soda the rest of this month. Please follow me here, on Twitter, or at my Facebook page.

Sources:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-baking-soda.htm
http://grist.org/living/umbra-bakingsoda/


Friday, March 2, 2012

Ban eating on the subways? You betcha!

I love listening to WNYC while I clean. Yesterday there was a discussion on the proposed ban of eating on the subways. Advocates for the ban say it will help reduce the rat population and thus improve conditions for MTA workers. Ban opponents say preventing people from eating on the subway would hurt lower class people and children who often only have time to eat on the subway during long commutes to school or work. (Some commuters feel it's an issue worth fighting over.)

I strongly support the ban. Of course, I'm in favor if it for the obvious reasons. It's not fair that I should to be assaulted with foul fumes of McDonald's french fries and take-away fried chicken wings. Parents take note: It's horrifying to see children dropping Cheerios on the platform and to watch the guardian also witness this but do nothing about it. Why not just hand the rats a bowl and some milk while you're at it!


I'm also in favor of the ban because subway dining represents a serious lack of self care. Eating on the subway is an unhealthy habit for so many reasons, but let's start with the unwashed hands, the mindless shoving of food (usually fast food) into the face, and the nervous energy caused by the agitated train car and commuters. This is no way to feed the soul or treat our bodies.

Let's try to love ourselves enough to be patient with our most basic need. Let's give ourselves an extra 10 or 15 minutes so that, even if we must eat take-away, we can take a seat-- maybe on a park bench if the restaurant doesn't have seating. Let's allow ourselves time to appreciate the food and all that went into it, to enjoy the act of eating, and perhaps to sit for a few breaths to aid digestion.

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