Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIWW: Whole Foods Market Workshop Edition

Yesterday I had a fabulous time leading a green cleaning workshop at Whole Foods Market here in Providence, RI. Even though I've lead the same workshop several times, I don't do them very often so I was a little nervous. An early evening shower and popping on my power sweater and skirt helped relieve my anxiety a bit.

What I Wore at My Whole Foods Market Green Cleaning Workshop

Power Sweater: Vintage by Melange via clothing swap // T-shirt: H & M // Power Pixels Skirt: Necessary Objects //  Superthick leggings: random discount store // Earrings: Made with coconut shells and red string by NYC street artist // Boots: Land's End // Silver Bracelet: Hippie 70's via Mom // Awesome hand drawn sign: Hilary, the store artist // Green Purse: Urban Expressions // Coffee Mug: Vintage via Fishs Eddy

Some words about my hair: I had to blow dry my braid out because it was wet and I needed to leave for my presentation. Surprisingly, that night it was okay, as you can see in my smiling picture. But the next day, as you can see from my photo with my gorgeous kitty Lucy, it was kind of cray-cray. (Yes, I wore the outfit again as second day fabulous outfits are the perfect attire for sitting around your house baking bread and surfing the internet!)

Any ladies with 4A-type natural hair have tips for blow drying braid outs? I very rarely use heat on my hair, but I need an emergency plan for wet braid emergencies that does not include wearing a wig or a hat! I'm open to other styles but once I've combed my hair in preperation for a braid out a wash-and-go is out of the question because my coils are gone and it's frizz-city!

See what other bloggers are wearing, and share your style, at The Pleated Poppy:

pleated poppy

If you're visiting from WIWW, please say hi. Hugs!


Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope you enjoyed it. Please like Olivia Cleans Green on Facebook, join my email list, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my blog posts (by email, via Bloglovin', or with your preferred RSS reader) to keep in touch and discover more creative green homemaking tips.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Green Laundry Tips Galore on Pinterest!

I've decided to stop dodging two things: people's persistent questions about laundry and stain removal and the Pinterest craze. Last week, I finally started to really use Pinterest. I discovered it truly is a fun way to research, organize, and share resources in a visual way when creating my Green Laundry Tips board.

Fixins for DIY laundry detergent

I scoured the internet to pin great articles, blog posts, and videos from reliable, green sources. I've got stuff on:
  • how to make your own laundry detergent (including a Borax-free recipe!)
  • how to brighten clothes without chlorine
  • how to clean "dry clean only" clothes like lingerie and wool coats
  • a guide to removing 15 common stains
  • the best eco-friendly ways to get clothes really clean

Please check out my Green Laundry Tips board on Pinterest to see these pins and more. Follow me on Pinterest so you can watch that board, and others, grow as I become more obsessed with Pinterest.  If you're not on Pinterest, you've gotta get on board (God, I love a good pun!), but be prepared to set limits on the amount time you spend there as it's more of an amazing time suck than Facebook!

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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Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe? What are Alternatives?

Isopropyl alcohol, aka rubbing alcohol, is innocuous in most homes. It's used to clean scrapes,  sterilize objects, and included in lots of personal care and cleaning products. Recently, I've noticed that some green companies like Better Life make a point of saying their cleaning products don't contain it. I wondered why.

Should I Be Concerned About Rubbing Alcohol?

I asked my brilliant friend/ green cleaning guru Regina Ryerson who directed me to the website of her colleague, Debra Lynn Dadd, an author/researcher who has been helping consumers make toxic-free choices since 1982. When asked if rubbing alcohol is safe to use for cleaning, Dadd writes:
I don't consider rubbing alcohol to be a nontoxic ingredient to use for cleaning. The chemical name for rubbing alchol is isopropyl alcohol. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for isopropyl alcohol says "No significant effects beyond minor irritation are expected" for skin exposure, but if some accidentally gets splashed in the eye it can cause "Severe irritation and discomfort" and "Reversible and/or irreversible corneal damage may occur". From inhalation, "Respiratory tract irritation and/or headaches possible. Significant systemic toxic effects are likely following repeated exposure to high concentrations." (Read more here.)
Read the MSDA for Isopropyl Alcohol (PDF).
Read the OSHA report for Isopropyl Alcohol.

I don't know about you but this is all scary and surprising for me. However knowing there are alternatives is comforting.

eHow details how you can use hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, and vinegar in place of rubbing alcohol for personal care and cleaning.

I use a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and distilled water to clean my HDTV screen, but I hear using plain distilled water in the same manner, ie a wee bit along with a microfiber cloth made for glass, totally works. I imagine it just doesn't dry as fast.

I love using rubbing alcohol to remove stickers, labels, and goo. I did some quick internet research and discovered you can remove them with a hair dryer, vinegar, vegetable oil (Tipnut says leave on for 2 hours), and peanut butter too.

My favorite pet mess cleaner, Nature's Miracle, contains isospropyl alcohol. I'm reluctant to give it up entirely since it works so much better than anything else I've tried. Still, knowing that it contains a respiratory, mucous membrane, and skin irritant means I'll be mindful to keep it out of reach of visiting children, wear gloves when using it, and crack open some windows while I use it and while it dries.

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning.   

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrate Earthling Month at Whole Foods Market with me!

I'm presenting a free hands-on green cleaning workshop at Whole Foods Market in University Heights (Providence, RI) on Tuesday, April 23 from 7-8pm. Come learn the basics of green cleaning and make fabulous cleaning products using 365 Everyday Value® supplies. The best part is you can take home what you make and start cleaning green immediately for free! Yay! (Just remember to bring 2 spray bottles and a small jar.) Call 401.621.5990401.621.5990 to pre-register by April 22, as space is limited. 

You can get everything you need to make your own natural cleaners like Viva Vinegar at Whole Foods Market.

I'm enamored with Whole Foods Market's Earthling Month campaign. There's a huge social media component where you can share your "earthling moments" via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with #wfmearthling and enter to win one of 10 $150 store gift cards. That can buy a lot of baking soda and vinegar (and, yeah, food).

There's also a big Earth Day Bash happening in stores on Saturday April 20. Look up the Whole Foods Market nearest you to find out about specific events.

Chelsea wrote to tell me about some awesome events coming up at Whole Foods Market in Bellingham, MA. Bring in a household cleaning product to their Earth Day Bash (April 20 11am-2pm) and they'll trade it for a non-toxic 365 Everyday Value® replacement (maximum 1 per person). They'll also celebrate Hairstyle Appreciation Day on April 30 12-2pm with a product swap. Bring a conventional haircare product to the store where they'll trade it for a non-toxic 365 Everyday Value® replacement (maximum 1 per person).

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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Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

My 1st guest post on GirlieGirl Army

Green your spring cleaning and save bunnies! Check out "Make Sure to Do a Truly Green Spring Clean," my guest post on GirlieGirlArmy.com.

(via)

Here's the first paragraph:

As the season changes, many of us are planning to do a big spring clean. We’re talking windows, walls, and the works. But did you know that what you clean with is just as important as what you clean? Our cleaning product choices affect the lives of thousands of animals. Sadly, though not required by law, most conventional cleaning products and/or their ingredients are tested on rats, mice, beagles, and bunnies. (Read the rest at GGA)

GGA calls itself "The Glamazon Guide to Conscious Living." I'm so happy to have work featured there! The fun vegan website is full of inspiring, lady-centered ideas for improving the world and your life, so be sure to stick around to read more while you are there.

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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Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Natural Birthday Candles & How to Clean Candle Wax

Does it skeeve you out when the birthday candle drips onto the cake? Maybe I'm just weird but whatever random chemicals lurk inside dollar store candles aren't something I want touching my food and getting into my fabulous body.

Most candles are made with paraffin, a petroleum by-product, which is not natural and is unhealthy to burn. To prepare it for candle making, it is chemically bleached and hardened, then artificially scented and colored. Burning paraffin emits harmful, black soot and pollutes the air. Currently, there are no regulations in the U.S. on disclosing ingredients on candle labels. (source)

Fortunately there are healthy alternatives worth celebrating.

Beeswax and soy wax birthday candles are the perfect alternatives to petro-based paraffin wax.

Big Dipper Wax Works makes beeswax birthday candles, with unbleached wicks, in natural or colored with eco-friendly dyes that are never tested on animals. They even make beeswax number birthday candles!

I'm kinda crushing on Big Dipper Wax Works, especially since their site features an entire page on how to remove wax from clothes, carpet, wood, and more! (In short, you either heat and then soak up the wax with a cloth or let the wax cool and harden, then scrape it off. Easy!)

Not down with beeswax? Waxworks Creative Candles sells handmade soy birthday candles in a variety of colors via Etsy. I think the yellow birthday candles are supercute!

All of three of these options cost less than $5 and as Wendy at Simply Frugal Lifestyle points out, you can rinse, dry, and reuse birthday candles in upcoming years. 

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Please like Olivia Cleans Green on Facebook, join my email list, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my blog posts (by email, via Bloglovin', or with your preferred RSS reader) to keep in touch and discover more creative green homemaking tips.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday Link Party #1

Share your gratitude at Thankful Thursday link party.

I've been keeping a gratitude journal for over 2 years and it's one of the most rewarding habits I've picked up. Having joy alone is awesome but experiencing it with other people is even better. To this end, I'm hosting a weekly Thankful Thursday Link Party. It's like an online community gratitude journal.

Please scroll below to join the party. You just need to click "Add your link" button. Since this is the first party, you have until the evening of Friday, April 26th to add your link.

I'll start!

Thank you!

This week I am supergrateful to Sonnet Lauberth at For the Love of Food for sharing how to sprout lentils. My lentil sprouts were such a healthy, inexpensive treat. I even brought some to a party where they were a hit!

Sending love and gratitude to Alisa Vitti, author of the new release WomanCode. As the founder of FLO Living, integrative nutritionist and hormone expert Alisa is my favorite resource for keeping my lady-parts happy. I'm making my way through WomanCode on my Kindle. I'm also following her 4-Week Cyclical Hormonal Health Plan which was featured on Dr. Oz. Thanks to the plan I tried sprouts and Genesis Bread last week. Not bad!

Thank you to Jessica at A Turn to Learn for sharing an awesome tutorial on how to host a linky party. I'm also grateful to Ginger at Ginger Snap Crafts for her post: How to Hold a Stress-free, Fun & Successful Link Party. Both were very useful to me!


Thanks so much for joining! Please like Olivia Cleans Green on Facebook, join my email list, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my blog posts (by email, via Bloglovin', or with your preferred RSS reader) to keep in touch and discover more creative green homemaking tips.
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WIWW: Saturday Sunglasses and Sass!

I had the best time on Saturday! My boyfriend and I had a romantic brunch at Olga's Cup and Saucer, where I discovered the magic that is a hazelnut mocha. OMG!

It was such a warm and gorgeous day in Providence that I couldn't help but feel warm and gorgeous myself!

I feel so lucky to live by the water!


Hair: styled by my bed // Sunglasses: via NYC street vendor (channeling goddess Iris Apfel)  //  Earrings: Rainbow Sugar by Margaret Carleton // Scarf: via swap // Jacket:  I think it's Ralph Lauren Polo or something, gift from Mom // Bag: Urban Expressions // Dress: via swap, as seen in a February WIWW // Superthick leggings: random discount clothing store // Boots: DSW


Hooray to Richard for taking these great photos!
See what other bloggers are wearing, and share your style, at The Pleated Poppy:

pleated poppy

If you're visiting from WIWW, please say hi and leave a link to your WIWW post in the comments. I don't wanna miss what you wore. Hugs!

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was entertaining. Please like Olivia Cleans Green on Facebook, join my email list, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my blog posts (by email, via Bloglovin', or with your preferred RSS reader) to keep in touch and discover more creative green homemaking tips.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's the point of blogging?

Olivia Cleans Green started as a marketing tool for my residential cleaning service, but I joyfully chose to end that service exactly one year ago. Still this blog and the website containing it exist. Why?


Honestly, nerding out about baking soda and vinegar was always my favorite part of running a green cleaning service. I also loved sharing everything I learned with clients, friends, neighbors, and anyone who would listen. I met one of my best friends through my business' blog.

I kind of see April as the ironic birthday month of Olivia Cleans Green the blog because that was when I shifted my focus to what I loved about my business: learning, sharing, and connecting.

A year later, that's still my reason for blogging. I'm not promoting a service. I don't blog because I want people to buy stuff, though I am totally grateful when people do make purchases through my Amazon Affiliate shop. I toy around with the idea of creating a product, but I honestly don't feel strongly compelled to fill a gap in the market.

I log into Blogger and show up at the compose screen here because I simply love doing so. It's one of the easiest, most uncomplicated, emotional-baggage free "tasks" in my life. It makes me happy and gives me a sense of community and purpose.

My goal this year for Olivia Cleans Green is to connect more deeply with people who value and crave healthy living, joy, and community. One step toward this is to leave a comment on at least one post, or at least clicking "like", after I visit a blog. (I'm embarassed to say I don't always take the time to comment; mostly because I hate Captcha but I'll get over it.) I'm aspiring to write a guest post to appear on at least one blog a month. I'm also determined to begin participating in Twitter's #FF starting this week. Speaking of Twitter, I want to make a stronger effort to thank people for following me there too because it really is awesome of them to hold space for me like that. I'll do this at least once a week.

I'd love to host a Thank You Thursday link party where party goers post links to a blog post by someone else that was helpful or inspiring to them during the past week. How fun would that be?! I'm going to try to make it happen- even if just on a small scale- this week. (More info to follow. Get in touch if you'd like to collaborate on this too.)

I have about a million other ideas too, but I think five steps is enough for now. Maybe in the summer I can do more once I have mastered these actions.

Do you have a blog? What's your reason for blogging? What are your goals?


Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Please like Olivia Cleans Green on Facebook, join my email list, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my blog posts (by email, via Bloglovin', or with your preferred RSS reader) to keep in touch and discover more creative green homemaking tips.
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