Thursday, October 31, 2013

That Sugary Treat is a Trick



Sugar is bad for me, you, your kids, your neighbors' kids, everybody. You don't need me to tell you this. But I am reminding you of this, especially today on Halloween, because I want you to make informed choices. Keep reading to find out why it's bad for us and to learn how to reduce sugar in your diet.
 
When you eat sugary things like candy and snacks or savory things made with refined or simple carbs (white potatoes, white pasta, white rice, white bread), your body breaks it down into something it can understand and use- glucose, a source for energy.

Your pancreas responds to glucose by creating insulin. Insulin moves the glucose into cells to be used as fuel. Good job, insulin!

The downside is if you've popped a ton of candy corn into your face, you've got way more glucose than your cells need. The insulin then just turns the extra glucose into fat so you can use it later.

Fat is your body's way of carrying around a doggie bag. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, you'll probably never have an emergency where you need those leftovers.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIWW: Cream & Texture



Last month I cleared lots of clothes from my closet to sell on consignment at Into the Wardrobe. I'm looking forward to getting store credit for fresh thrifted goodness. Meanwhile, one benefit of doing this is feeling motivated to find more ways to wear the fewer clothes I currently own.

This is one of my "new" outfits. I am so in love with the mix of textures: micro-cords, lace, the softest cashmere, suede ... even the tights have a pattern made out of texture.

Speaking of the tights: It feels so good to finally wear these things! I don't find much opportunity to wear cream colored tights. Do you?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Do You Blog Your Hobby?


I just scheduled my first class, Blog Your Hobby, at Learning Connection in Providence, RI. Here's the description:
Have you been dreaming of sharing your crafty creations, culinary adventures, or fabulous fashion with the world? You need a blog! During this class, you'll use the simple Blogger platform to create and launch a free blog that lets your passion shine. You’ll also learn how to create compelling content and use social media to attract readers. (Register here)
I don't know about you but I'm so looking forward to this! I love the philosophy of local peer education. I love that I'll be empowering people to put themselves out into the global community where they'll be able to educate and inspire others by being their authentic selves, just doing what they love. It will be so rad!

My Blog Your Hobby class is designed to enable anyone who knows how to use internet to create a blog. During class we will cover:
  • What is a blog?
  • Building a blog
  • Creating a post
  • Creating a page
  • Understanding social media
  • Using social media
  • Integrating social media with your blog
  • Connecting readers with your content

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cranberry Pear BFF Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe [Vegan, Gluten-Free]


Most of us are no stranger to the pear-cranberry connection. Every autumn, we begin to find it in pies, granola, stuffing, even cocktails. It's the t-shirt and jeans of cool season foods: pretty darned awesome but so classic it can easily be taken for granted.

But this a combination to truly be grateful for. Pears have a tremendous amount of fiber and aren't too shabby with the vitamin C either. Cranberries have high concentrations of vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese and vitamin K and help prevent UTIs.

Let's celebrate the combination of sweet and tart with this warming cranberry pear steel cut oatmeal that will make you fall in love with the pairing all over again.

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to Hand Wash Garments the Easy Way


I loathe washing garments by hand. For this reason, the clothing in my wardrobe falls into three categories: machine washable, things that officially aren't machine washable but I put in the wash anyway, and sports bras.

Oh sports bras! I only own two. I could buy more, but I don't enjoy undergarment shopping so that leaves me with three other choices:
  • Go braless some days. (Hello itchy nipples!)
  • Wear the same skanky bra. (Ew!)
  • Don't exercise more than twice between laundry sessions.  (I'm studying health & wellness so I know that's not the best idea.)
Okay, I guess there's a fourth option: Wash my sports bra by hand. My inner child wants to throw a temper tamtrum at the very thought of it. At least she used to. That was before I cracked the lazy girl code for hand washing. Wanna know my secret?

Hand wash delicate garments in the shower.
(Click here to tweet this "secret"!)

Seriously. I don't know about you but I love a long shower after I exercise. When I hand wash my sports bra in the shower the reward is built into the chore. So fun! Plus, I was gonna take a shower anyway and it takes two minutes extra at most.

I just rinse the sports bra under water. Then I squeeze liquid soap onto it. I use my tea tree face soap, which is nice because it's got antibacterial (and therefor funk fighting) properties. I rub the soap into it a little. Rinse. Squeeze out the water. And finally hang it from the shower head to dry. (If you're washing something super delicate that can't be squeezed just roll it in your bath towel and squeeze that to remove excess water before hanging.)

Do you love or loathe hand washing? Would you wash your clothes in the shower? 

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Load and Clean a Dishwasher

I'm super persnickety. One area of my life where this manifests daily is in the loading of the dishwasher. I like to strategically arrange the dishes and bowls so that every centimeter of space is maximized. I officially do this to save water and energy, but a big reason is because it's just plain fun!

I wish my plates were this colorful! Image via SmallNotebook.org, specifically the great post: 5 Tips to Improve Your Dishwasher.

Personal quirks aside, there is somewhat of a real science behind loading the dishwasher. Seventh Generation's blog features awesome tips on how to load a dishwasher.

My favorite tip is: "Don't prewash dishes! The enzymes in dish detergent need a place to work, and food particles provide the work site."

That's great news because unless I've had previous problems with a specific food I just scrape off any food remains before putting the dish (into the perfect spot) in the dishwasher.  My dishes almost always come out clean so clearly that tip is spot on. (Pun intended.)

When my dishes stop coming out clean or the washer smells a little funky, I know it's time to clean the dishwasher. Here's a simple, green way to clean your dishwasher:
  1. Start with an empty dishwasher.
  2. Wash the drain attachment in warm sudsy water. (I never do this because my dishwasher drain thingy doesn't come out.)
  3. If the utensil basket is attached to the door, remove it and clean behind it. Also, use an old toothbrush to scrub food out of any nooks. Replace basket.
  4. Throw 1 cup white vinegar into the dishwasher. 
  5. Run the dishwasher on high heat, deep cleaning setting.
  6. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda over the floor of the dishwasher. 
  7. Let it sit overnight.
  8. Run the machine once again.
  9. You've now got yourself a clean machine! 
I learned this process from Melissa Maker at Clean My Space. Check out her How to Clean Your Smelly Dishwasher video. Don't you totally just wanna hang out with her?!

And, cuz I care, here are some non toxic ways to keep stainless steel dishwashers clean and shiny.

I use Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Powder. I'm happy to know it scored an A on Environmental Working Group's Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Check out EWG's safety ratings of various dishwasher detergents to see how yours stacks up.

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIWW: What I Wrote Wednesday

Today's guest blogger is 7 year old me. This is what I wrote in my diary on December 27, 1986.

An exclusive look into my diary. Hee hee!


I love the sun! But that has nothing to do with I'm write. I lik when me and cupcakes play ball, play house, play dress up, and ressul. Cupcakes likes a cocaspanya But Cupcakes dosent know I'm writing this and who ever heard of a talking reading dog. Nobody so Let's not Bhodir Bother.

I'm impressed by my cursive!
That was the second entry in my diary. The first was written on Christmas but didn't give the best impression of my mother so I figured I'd skip that one.

I will, however, share my "diet food" recipe from the Christmas entry. It's actually still really yummy! (I'm rephrasing it so it's easier to understand.)
  1. Stick a candy cane into a lemon half so that the juice ends up on the candy cane. 
  2. Suck it and enjoy the seriously delicious explosion of sweet and sour!
Did you keep a diary when you were a child?

This post was inspired by Charlotte of Chartreuth's adorable entry, "My first blog." 


Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I am amazing! (So are you!)


Say it with me, "I am amazing!" How about adding, "I love and accept myself exactly the way I am right now."

Why?

Why not?! You are amazing and superloveable! And apparently self-love is a key ingredient in reaching personal fulfillment.

I didn't come up with this. Louise Hay has been helping people heal traumas and enjoy life by prescribing daily affirmations of self-love for decades. So have many other self-help experts.

While all that self-love stuff can sound kinda ridiculous, last night Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution pointed out what the opposite of self-love sounds like:

"You suck. You're dumb. You can't do anything right. Why do you even bother trying? You know you will fail."

That's pretty supereffing ridiculous! Most of us wouldn't say that to anyone else. Unfortunately many of us have said these things to ourselves. I know I have. Some especially bad days it's been my entire inner dialogue.

Nick says this abusive dialogue makes it difficult for us to achieve our goals. He compared it to baseball. When a team is playing at their home stadium, they are cheered and encouraged by the energy and love of the crowd. They are more likely to win. This is the home court advantage. The "away team" is at a disadvantage because most people are booing them and wishing for their failure.

No person is perfect. We all make mistakes and bad choices, big and small. One key to success is to make the courageous step to recognize and accept our imperfections. We must then give ourselves love and support while we move forward towards our goals.

If we fail to move on with self-compassion and instead choose beat ourselves up, we are truly wasting time. Jeering ourselves also increases stress which, in addition to being unhealthy, makes it harder to think and get things done effectively and efficiently.

We've got to acknowledge we all have unique gifts and deserve the pleasure of sharing that with the world. Let's be loving, forgiving, and encouraging to ourselves so we can make it happen!

Do you treat yourself like you are the home team or the away team? What's one way you can commit to cheer yourself today? 

<3 Here are some free tapping (EFT) audios from The Tapping Solution to help you relieve stress. <3 

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Shannon's Cleansing Sweet Squash Succotash Recipe [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Guest post by Shannon Sodano.


When you live a life of overindulgence, your body is left feeling tired, your mind foggy and your spirits down. If you make simple shifts to your lifestyle that balance and re-boot your body, you can regain control of how you take care of yourself, leaving tiring habits and unhealthy cravings behind.

From Halloween sweets to big Thanksgiving and holiday meals, ‘tis the season of overindulgence. If you’d like to forget about gaining the typical 5 to 10 holiday pounds, not feel tired and lethargic from overeating all season and want to try a way of living that gives you more energy than you ever thought possible, a cleanse may be for you.

 A cleanse is a short-term way of eating and living where you focus on eliminating the foods and bad habits that make you feel sluggish and fill yourself up with those that restore and energize you. A cleansing diet includes foods that purify your insides and leave you with ample energy to live off. Cutting out certain things like sugar, alcohol and caffeine helps you sleep and get through your day better plus leaves behind less sluggish residue. Animal products are taken out too, since animals produce their own toxins.

Here is a simple recipe that can get you in the spirit of cleansing. It will prevent cravings, manage your waistline and give you lasting energy for the busy days of fall. Plus, it makes a great Meatless Monday meal! If you want to register or find out more about a Pre-Holiday cleanse visit www.shannonsodano.com/cleanses.

Inspired by the Native American tradition, this recipe makes great use of the bounty of fall vegetables and is a sweet, healthy and hearty meal.

Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Lavender Sachet Hair Clip and Brooch

Lavender sachet brooch

A few days ago I got bored while waiting for my vegan lasagna leftovers to reheat. I very rarely get bored (there's always Instagram!) but I'm trying to get smarter about the time I spend on social media so that left the question: What fun thing can I do for 20 minutes? Pinterest!, my mind said. No!, I resisted. I decided I'd better make something with my ridiculously large stash of lavender.

A sachet seemed like the best idea given the time constraints. Basically, a sachet is a little pouch containing something with a fabulous scent or magical powers. I think lavender has a little bit of both, plus it's totally my accidental theme for this week!

Lavender sachet hair clip

Wanna make the same thing?

You'll need:
  • one sheet of paper & a pencil or marker
  • straight pins & a pair of scissors
  • two fabric scraps of different colors and textures (I used crafting felt and a synthetic sports fabric, but cotton would be another good choice.)
  • lavender flowers & lavender essential oil (Available at Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • thread & needle or sewing machine
  • random string of beads
  • colorful embroidery or crafting thread

Do this:
  1. Draw a shape that you like on the paper. Make it at least 1/4" bigger around than you'd like your sachet to be, unless you plan on having exposed edges like mine does). Cut it out to make a pattern/template.
  2. Sandwich together the two pieces of fabric. Face to face if you wanna reverse it. Butt to butt if you want exposed edges.
  3. Pin the pattern to the fabric sandwich. 
  4. Cut.
  5. Remove the pattern.
  6. Repin and sew together leaving a little opening.
  7. Use embroidery/craft thread and random beads to make a cute (optional) decoration on the sachet. It's probably easier to outline the template on the fabric with craft chalk and embroider/embellish on a larger piece of fabric before you cut or sew it. I just like to work in this order. You should do whatever works for you too.
  8. Mix together some lavender flowers (enough to fill your sachet) and few drops of lavender essential oils. 
  9. Make a funnel with paper to get the lavender into the opening.
  10. Sew closed with the machine (if doing exposed edges) or tuck edges in and sew closed by hand, if you're not.
Now that you've got yourself a sachet, the question is what to do with it. Since I've been fighting the blues, I figured I would make the sachet into something I could wear all day. A hair clip seemed perfect!

I stuck a large bobby pin through the back piece of fabric. Automatic hair clip. A duck clip would work too. If your fabric doesn't have holes or open weave, stitch a clip to it with embroidery thread.

If you wanna wear it as a brooch, stitch a large safety pin or a brooch pin onto the back.

Now when friends and co-workers ask, "What's that wonderful smell," you can say, "It's me!" And when they ask why you're in such a good mood, you can say, "It's my handmade brooch!"

Tip: Store this inside a drawer or your purse when you're not wearing it so it can serve double duty.

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIWW: Positive & Powerful in Purple



Hair: (Co)wash & Go // Vintage scarf & wrap sweater: via Beacon's Closet // Sunglasses: via NYC street vendor // Corduroy pocket skirt: Renuar via Second Time Around //  Fishnets: ? // Clogs: Sam by Dansko

I took these WIWW photos yesterday. I was not having the best day. I woke up feeling a little emo, tired, and crampy. (It happens even to the best of us!) I knew I had to put on some fabulous clothes to feel more like myself. I randomly felt drawn to wearing an all purple outfit. Some internet research shows I couldn't have made a better choice.

According to ColorMatters.com, purple is considered the most powerful visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy. Kids associate it with happiness. Light purples are light-hearted, floral, and romantic. The dark shades are more intellectual and dignified.

Wow! Those were definitely qualities I needed more of. Who knew The Law of Attraction even got as specific as clothes!

I also made a point to walk past a neighborhood house that has tons of wild lavender growing in the front yard. Did you know lavender herb can create a positive mood and help to alleviate mild feelings of agitation or distress? I did, that's why I rubbed up those magical bushes like nobody's business!

What color do you wear to feel more like yourself? 

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.
 


Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was entertaining. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Vegan Lasagna with Homemade Ricotta Recipe [Gluten-Free]



We had a wonderfully satisfying Meatless Monday dinner of vegan lasagna last night. I tried out a new-to-me technique for making a dairy-free ricotta-like filling. Here's the recipe:

Print Recipe

Vegan Ricotta


Ingredients

  • 1 lb soft tofu
  • 14 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 12 lemon juice of
  • some Italian herbs Fresh is flavor magic but we didn't have any on hand so I used dried and it was good.)
  • 12 tsp salt

Directions

  1. I blended everything in my Vitamix by gradually going up to 5 and using the tamper. You could make it in a food processor too.
  2. Another option is to mince the garlic then mix and mash everything together with a fork.

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Plan To Eat


Once you've got ricotta, you're ready to build the lasagna casserole. I love whole wheat pasta, but there are gluten-free options like brown rice flour pasta.


Print Recipe

Vegan Lasagna


Ingredients

  • 28 oz tomato puree or marinara sauce
  • 1 box lasagna pasta gluten-free optional
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful mushrooms
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • vegan ricotta use above recipe

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Don't cook, if using no-bake lasagna.)
  2. Meanwhile, sautee veggies in olive oil.
  3. Cover bottom of baking dish with tomato puree or marinara sauce. You can pour it straight from the Tetra pack or jar if you're not making your own. My boyfriend prefers to mix it with the veggies (?!), so that's what we did.
  4. Top with pasta.
  5. Spread thick layer of vegan ricotta over pasta.
  6. Top with a little more tomato puree.
  7. Add a layer of your favorite veggies. Even frozen veggies straight from the bag work well. We used sauteed carrots, mushrooms, eggplant, and onions along with frozen chopped spinach.
  8. Repeat steps 2-5 until you reach the top of the casserole dish.
  9. Top with tomato puree, making sure all the pasta is covered.
  10. Cover with foil or dish lid and bake for 40 minutes. (If you don't cover it, you will get crunchy pasta.)
  11. Cool for 10 minutes then enjoy!

Powered by
Plan To Eat

What are your favorite vegetarian lasagna fillings? I know lots of vegans are avoiding soy these days; if you're one of them, I'd love some recommendations for a nut-based ricotta. 

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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Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Organize Under the Bathroom Sink



A reader requested ideas for organizing under the sink. I figured I'd share actual photos of the tiny under sink cupboard my boyfriend and I shared in our wee Brooklyn bathroom. If that space can be organized anything can!

Use removable shelves.
All the items in the Before picture are in the After picture too. You can multiply your space by using removable shelves with multiple levels. They give you more surfaces to put things on without piling them. I actually took the before picture last to illustrate the point. (Y'all know under my bathroom sink isn't piled up like that in real life!)

You can find these shelves on Amazon and in the kitchen section of The Container Store and Bed Bath and Beyond. Measure your cabinet taking into account any pipes under the sink to make smart choices about which shelves to buy. Also consider the variety of heights of containers you need to store. You can see from the photo that I have a single and double shelf in this cabinet.

Get clever with containers.
I reused salad greens containers to create little bins that make it easy to pull out groups of items. This keeps me from having to move a million smaller containers and boxes to reach whatever I am looking for. This also prevents things from piling up.

Don't be afraid to repackage products into jars, bins, and bags that work better with your organizational method too. For example, I keep my cotton swabs and pads together in a sandwich container.

Be a bathroom minimalist.
Don't feel like you need to store everything you use in the bathroom in the bathroom, especially if your space is small. Keep back stock of toilet paper and hair products in another room. Or better yet, don't buy any until you almost run out. When we lived in Brooklyn, land of 24-hour bodegas, one spare roll of toilet paper was plenty.

Also, do not keep more than one trial or single use size anything per person in your house for longer than a month. They will pile up to become space hogs if you don't. (Yes, two hotel sized bottles of shampoo, though they may be from different hotels, count as more than one of the same item.) Stored those you do keep packed away in your overnight cosmetics bag, which you should keep in your suitcase instead of in the bathroom.

Do you have any tips for organizing under the bathroom sink? What's working really well in your home?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

How I Treated My UTI Without Antibiotics


Around 7pm last Thursday I felt a pain like one I'd never felt before- an intense burning ache shooting out of my vag right after I peed. I was so shocked I almost jumped off the toilet. Did I drink glass without noticing, I wondered. I started to plot what hospital I would have my boyfriend drive me to or maybe we'd take a taxi. I winced when I thought of the emergency room bill. Perhaps it'd just be better to die.

After peeing another two times with the same intensity of pain, but also without dying, I pulled myself together and hopped on the internet. A Google search of "burning when I pee" quickly uncovered that I had a urinary tract infection (UTI). Apparently this is a very common condition for women, one I managed to avoid for 30 plus years, but I guess my luck ran out. That and I probably reached the tipping point for the number of times you can absentmindedly wipe in the wrong direction without paying the proverbial piper.

Since Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Instead of taking antibiotics (which always give me a yeast infection anyway), I drank water. Lots of water. I drank 4 pints when I woke up and drank another pint every hour. I noticed that the pain felt less and less intense with each passing hour. By 7pm Friday I felt right as rain.

The only time I experienced any pain after that was the next day when I had to hold my bladder for about half an hour before we reached a public restroom while on a road trip. Still, I've been continuing to drink lots of water. I've even added some pure cranberry juice to my daily routine. It tastes horrible, but nowhere near as bad as a UTI feels.
 
Disclaimer: I'm have absolutely no medical or scientific training beyond 10th grade biology. Though I did get an A, the information in this post is not meant to replace the guidance of your physician. This post is purely to share my personal experience. If you experience UTI symptoms for more than 48 hours, I beg you to see a doctor.

Have you ever had a UTI? How did you treat it?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIWW: V is for Victory & Veggie Power Socks!




Wanna know why I'm so happy? 

My boyfriend gifted me the most amazing socks ever for my birthday. I imagine them as my health coach power socks. I've worn them at least twice this week while studying for my first exam at Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Socks by Sock It To Me

Despite these awesome socks, I was nervous before taking the exam. I'd been putting it off to the "right" time thinking I wasn't prepared. Wanting to get over this yucky awful feeling of not being good enough, I went to India Point Park with my boyfriend. I felt needed the water and earth energy to help calm me.

I started tapping, which is my newest tool for relieving stress, while we walked. Just as I was beginning to feel more relaxed and confident, a squirrel (my spirit animal) darted out of the bushes and across my path to jump into a tree. Surprised, I screamed and the squirrel paused to look at us. He telepathically sent me this message:


That was all the encouragement I needed. I went home, sat in front of my computer with renewed confidence, and took the test. I scored 100% on my first attempt!


Sunglasses: via NYC street vendor // Earrings: via South Africa // Sweater: Vintage by Joan Vass, USA (yet another birthday present!) // Dress: Esprit // Leggings: F21 // Shoes: Bass Earth

What are you feeling victorious about this week? Leave a comment so we can celebrate together!

P.S. My school, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, is offering a $1000 off tuition if you enroll by October 16th. Also they'll donate $100 in your name to support GMO labeling. If you're thinking about becoming a health coach now is an awesome time to sign up! Use this link for more info and/or contact me to talk about what it's like to be a student at IIN and see if the program might be right for you. (I'm an affiliate for my school so it's sort of my job to do this; don't feel like you're imposing.)

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.


Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was entertaining. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
Follow on Bloglovin
Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

7 Ideas for Organizing Jewelry

When I cleaned apartments professionally I noticed organizing jewelry was an issue many women struggle with. So many of us keep heaps of earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets thrown around on top of our dresser. It's great because everything is visible. However it also makes it hard to dust, it makes it very easy to loose pieces, and there is risk of scratching your furniture.

My sizable collection of jewelry and years of retail experience have provided me with lots of ideas for keeping jewelry visible, easily accessible, and organized.

Vintage dishes


I store my post earrings, earring backs, and rings in a dainty sectioned candy dish. I also store bracelets in a small bowl. Tea light candle holders and 4 oz mason jars also make sweet jewelry holders. You can find cute ones at your grandma's house or at an antique store.

Glove molds


These are wonderfully quirky way to store and display your favorite rings. I found a great glove mold in the clearance section at Fishs Eddy. I keep it in the kitchen to hold my ring and bracelet while I cook or do the dishes.

DIY Wall Jewelry Display


I made my own jewelry display for free. You can too! Here's how: 1. Grab a large piece of cardboard and a piece of fabric that is about 2 inches bigger squared than the board. // 2. Staple or glue the fabric to the board. // 3. Staple or pin a cute ribbon to one corner then another corner to create a hanger. // 4. Stick pushpins in the board. // 5. Hang earrings, light bracelets, and necklaces from the pins. // 6. Clip hair accessories to ribbon. // 7. Hang from a picture hook.

Another way to make a hanging display is to use a screen, picture frame, and a few pretty vintage knobs. Check out this DIY jewelry screen tutorial by Lauren Conrad.

Key Racks


I hang my chunkier necklaces from a little row of key hooks. I got mine at Anthropologie clearance section but you can probably find a cute one secondhand. I don't recommend storing anything too precious this way, as the strain of the weight of the beads does make the string more likely to break sooner.

Retail Display Racks
You can purchase retail grade acrylic and metal jewelry displays for pretty cheap on Amazon. For example, this slightly decorative metal earring rack can hold 78 pairs of earrings and is under $8. You can find inspiration for more beautiful and clever jewelry display by poking around well merchandised boutiques and booths at craft fairs.

The problem with a rack is it needs to sit on a dresser. That's fine if you don't have a cat or curious kids, but a hanging one might better suit the needs of those who like a clear dresser top.

Egg Cartons

Vintage Hen Egg Tray via Etsy seller Cynthia's Attic
If you have lots of little post or clip on earrings, egg cartons are an eco-friendly storage option. The carton is a little ghetto fabulous but it can be stored out of sight in a drawer or on a shelf in your closet. Vintage ceramic and glass egg trays and deviled egg plates are a classier, more displayable alternative that can be found on Etsy and eBay.

Jewelry Box
If the thought of tossing your jewelry in a dark abyss to never be seen again doesn't turn you off, go ahead and put it in a jewelry box. Just kidding. If you can keep your jewelry to a minimum, putting it in a jewelry box, especially one with little slots for rings, is fine.

How do you store your jewelry?

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Meatless Monday: What's Your Favorite Veggie Dog?

Last week I mentioned that I am taking the October Unprocessed 2013 challenge. Hosted by Eating Rules, the annual event encourages folks to eat real food made without funky ingredients.

While most of my meals don't come out of a box, bag, or jar, I do have my vices. I can't resist a good veggie dog. I actually don't like veggie dogs very much, but I love the condiments: a fat zigzag of ketchup and mustard over kraut or kimchi, pickles on the side. Don't even get me started on the soft, pillowy buns smeared with Vegenaise... My mouth is watering at the thought!

Image via Field Roast
I also love the ritual of veggie dogs. We usually have them for lunch on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. I take the buns and dogs out of the freezer. My boyfriend grills the dogs. I prep the toppings. We eat them together in front of the television while watching whatever sport is on.

Why resist something that feels so amazing? Well, I assumed veggie dogs were made of something terrible. But when I looked at the label of our Field Roast Frankfurters, I was pleasantly surprised. I noticed the ingredients weren't so bad after all: water, vital wheat gluten, wheat flour, liquid smoke, some veggies and spices.

Don't get me wrong; I am not claiming Field Roast Frankfurters are healthy. There is an alarming amount of sodium (690 mg!) these dogs. Think of the sodium in the toppings and we're looking at something close to 1K for the meal. The frankfurters contain 8g of fat per link (yikes!). There's also not much in the way of vitamins and micro-nutrients. I'm not a huge eater, so when I eat hot dogs I'm wasting tummy space that could've been used to hold more nourishing foods like veggies and whole grains, and healthier fats like avocado or nuts.

Who knows, maybe this Friday night I'll get my act together and marinate some carrots so we can enjoy vegan carrot hot dogs over the weekend. For now, I kinda wanna celebrate this sometime food for not being as processed as I thought it was.

What's your favorite veggie dog? What do you think of the ingredients and "nutritional value" of it? Would you eat a carrot hot dog?

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Friday, October 4, 2013

4 Ways to Keep a Litter Box Smelling Fresh


I get lots of questions on how to clean a kitty litter box and how to keep it smelling fresh. Here are my tips.

Use a clumping kitty litter.
I've been using World's Best Cat Litter for years. It's made from corn and doesn't contain any fragrance or scent. I try to stay on top of smells by scooping out poop and clumps at least once a day. The nice thing about World's Best is you can flush solids down the toilet. I once had a total of six cats and kittens and my apartment didn't smell at all. (They have a multiple cat formula too.) I swear by World's Best, but there are other natural clumping brands out there, including Beth Anne's Finest.

Add baking soda.
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. This should keep things pHresher and extend the amount of time in between full litter box cleanings. When we moved we had a kitty litter emergency and had to buy a bag of the clay kind from the corner store. This helped keep things from getting too funky. You can also keep an open box of baking soda near the litter box to help absorb odors.

Feed your cat good food.
Ever eat something bad and your poop just didn't smell right? Well, the same thing happens to our pets. Most canned critter food is down right terrible. Invest in high quality food for your cat. Her poop will smell less offensive and she'll be healthier. Lucy loves Wellness canned food. Remember every cat is different. Try a variety of healthy foods until you discover what your cat likes. A good natural pet supply store will have many choices. (Whiskers in NYC East Village is my favorite!)

Wash the litter box.
This is kind of obvious, but yeah, you need to dump all the litter out and wash the box occasionally. Exactly how often depends on what kind of litter you use and how many cats share the box. Every other week works for one and two cat families.
1. Dump everything. // 2. Rinse and dump water into toilet. // 3. Put 1/2 cup baking soda to the box. Fill with warm water. Add a few drops of fragrance-free dish detergent. (I like Seventh Generation.) // 4. Soak for 15 minutes. // 5. Scrub // 6. Empty and rinse. // 7. Dry and add litter.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

7 Ways to Get Whites White without Bleach

Bleach sucks, but so do dingy clothes. Here are a few eco-friendly ways to keep white clothes white without chlorine bleach.

(original image via)

Properly Sort
The main reason whites get dingy is the dye from other colored fabrics get on them. If keeping whites white is important to you, do not wash whites and colors together, ever. Also, do not wash heavily soiled white items with not-so-dirty whites.

Hot Water
Martha Stewart recommends washing whites in the hottest water the fabric will tolerate. This isn't especially green, but it works.

Sunlight
Hang your white laundry out to dry in direct sunlight, making sure every item gets direct sun. As a bonus, it will also kill any germs. Stephanie at Keeper of the Home uses sunlight to keep even cloth diapers white. Read her post to see all her wonderful tips on sun bleaching laundry.

Lemon Juice
Soak dingy whites in a basin filled with very hot water and a generous amount of lemon juice overnight. Remove from the basin and wash as usual the next day. Another option is to add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of lemon juice to washer during the rinse cycle. (Tip via SmartKlean.)

Oxygen Bleach
Oxygen bleach does not contain chlorine so it's safe for you and the environment. I just add some to my washing machine as it fills. If something is really grungy or I just want it really white, like my shower curtain, I pre-soak it in oxygen bleach overnight. I mostly use Whole Foods Market store brand powdered oxygen bleach in my laundry, but Seventh Generation bleach is an example of liquid oxygen bleach and it works fine too.

Borax
Borax is a laundry detergent booster that can soften hard water. Just add 1/2 cup of borax to every load along with your detergent. Laundry boosters won't bleach your clothes but they do will help the detergent work better. (I'd be remiss if I didn't note that there are some safety concerns for Borax.)

Washing Soda
Washing soda is another natural laundry detergent booster. Add 1/2 cup of it to every load. You don't need booth borax and washing soda, so just pick one. If you can't find washing soda in your area, you can make your own with baking soda.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kindle vs Books: A Green Perspective


Today the newest Kindle Fire was released. I can't help but wonder if and how this device, and other e-readers, fits into my eco-friendly lifestyle.

Disclosure: I'm an Amazon associate. The opinions in this article are my own, but I do earn commission on Amazon purchases made via this site. I you decide to buy a Kindle, please use my special link for karmic e-huggles! 

My gut instinct is that the shift to e-books is awesome for the environment. I think of all the paper that will be saved by not printing books for consumers, or even during publishing to preview lay out. I think of all the fuel that won't be used to run warehouses to store books or to ship books from printer to warehouse to bookstore to used bookstore. Maybe libraries can become smaller and save energy on light and air conditioning as they begin to focus on trafficking e-books.

It's not just my gut that says e-readers are green. A 2009 study by CleanTech Group analyzed the carbon footprint of the Kindle DX. It revealed if a person reads 22.5 ebooks instead of printed books, they would offset the carbon emissions associated with creating the device. (I have no idea how the Kindle Fire HDX measured up against this.) You can take your e-reader the green distance by using a solar charger, reselling it when you upgrade, and being sure to recycle your Kindle when it dies.

I imagine a lot of social and cultural awesomeness resulting from the growth of e-books. More previously disempowered people and mainstream literature outsiders are finding voice and community as self publishing becomes easier. It's exciting to know that every entrepreneur can sell and send her self published book to someone across the world for nothing and in just a few minutes.

(I'm actually writing an e-book that will be free to my e-newsletter subscribers by November. Get on my list to get it!)

Then there's the annoyance of the physical presence of books themselves. Anyone who has every moved residence knows that packing books you've never read, or read once in college, and moving them from apartment to apartment is just sad. Also there's dust. Ugh! We have three bookcases in our home and sometimes I just want to turn them over into a dumpster!

Of course, there is something cold and anti-social about e-readers. Book swaps, curbside free book boxes, and leave one-take one cafe libraries warm my soul. Sadly, these acts of charity and community are impossible with e-books.

Real books help us find friends. When I see someone reading a book with a cover that interests me I am able to recognize a kindred spirit and am likely to start a conversation. (My parents actually met at a bus stop because my dad asked my mom about the book she was reading.) When I see someone starting into an electronic device my instinct is to assume they'd rather be left alone.

How will future 20 somethings judge if a person is worth a third date if she can't see what he's read? (Hopefully, Maxim will somehow stay in print if only to be a red flag.)

What do you think? Do you prefer e-readers or real books? Do you think there is room for both in a sustainable future? 

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