Tag Archives | green lifestyle

Helping Holidays: 4 Green Gifts That Give Back

The holidays are all about celebrating acts of giving, making it the perfect opportunity to make your gift giving smarter this season. There are so many amazing businesses out there that give back when you purchase one of their products. These companies are tied to doing good somewhere in the world every time a purchase is made. Read on for my 4 favorite gifts that give back – and if you hurry you can still get these goodies by Christmas.

1. Warby Parker Glasses
Eben and I both wear glasses and love the stylish, affordable frames from Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses that you buy, a pair is donated to a person in need. If you don’t wear glasses, that is alright – Warby Parker also offers fantastic sunglasses.

+ Warby Parker  

2. Feed Bags
I have been familiar with FEED Bags for a very long time – I remember first seeing them in Whole Foods back when we lived in Georgia! FEED Bags come in a huge selection of styles and sizes and with each purchase a portion of the proceeds go towards feeding the children of the world.

+ FEED Projects

3. TOMS Shoes
Most likely you are already familiar with TOMS shoes – for every pair you purchase a pair is donated to a child in need. With a great selection of shoes for everyone on your list, TOMS is the perfect holiday gift!

+ TOMS
4. Smile Squared
Every year I stick a toothbrush in the holiday stocking – this year I will be stuffing a brush from Smile Squared! Smile Squared is another company that donates a product to a child in need – in this case, an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush – because a healthy smile is a happy smile.

+ Smile Squared

Do you have a favorite gift to give that gives back too?

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Hello, Friends! I am pretty excited, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you hosting the big dinner this year? There are many eco-friendly ways to green your Thanksgiving dinner – all of which are easier to implement if you plan ahead. Many of these ideas will save you money and time while cutting down on the amount of waste that can accumulate from a big family dinner. Read on to learn my 5 favorite eco-friendly ways to plan your Thanksgiving dinner and start planning today!

1. Decorating 101
You don’t have to spend any money when decorating for Thanksgiving, instead use items that you already have or consider bringing natural items indoors. We always have a handful of pumpkins leftover from Halloween that we use as Thanksgiving decorations. And Eben and I like to take a nature walk to collect natural elements (pine-cones, acorns, branches and leaves) to display as our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

2. How Much is Enough?
It is really easy to go overboard when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Consider the dishes that you will be serving and ask yourself if you are making more than is necessary. Choose a few dishes that you are sure your guests will love and skip the rest. Also, consider which parts of Thanksgiving dinner you want to or can afford to purchase organic and whenever possible, avoid pre-packaged items.

3. Consider the Table
Do you have enough dinnerware for everyone in your dinner party? If not, consider borrowing place settings from close friends or family members instead of purchasing new. If you aren’t a china and tablecloth kind of family and choose to go with disposable place settings, choose a great compostable version that is made from 100% recycled materials.

4. Think Seasonal
When choosing fruits and vegetables for your Thanksgiving menu, think seasonal. You want to avoid purchasing produce that are imported from far away. You may consider joining a local CSA for the holiday season – not only will you have delicious, local foods to serve this Thanksgiving, but you will be supporting a local farm too.

5. Plan for Leftovers
What do you plan to do with the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? If you are planning on sending goodies home with your guests, have glass resuable storage containers ready to go. If you made more than your family can consume, you could donate some of the leftovers to a local food bank, freeze them for later or have a menu plan for the days after Thanksgiving so all of the leftovers will be used.

How do you green your Thanksgiving dinner? I would love to hear – please share your thoughts in the comments!

7 Easy Ways to Adopt a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Although everyone celebrates Earth Day on April 22, there are so many opportunities to help “keep it green” all year-round! For those who want to adopt an eco-friendlier attitude throughout the year, there is more you can do than just recycling cans and plastic bottles. You can adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle and attitude.

The benefit of adopting an eco-friendly attitude is not just related to conserving resources and the environment. In fact, the therapeutic and preventative effects of eco-friendly choices can be reflected in human health. Humans who eat organic meat and pesticide-free vegetables, for example, avoid ingesting harmful chemicals and hormones that interfere with the body’s natural ability to digest and process food. However, an organic diet is not the only path to a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle. By following some of these tips below, you can help conserve the Earth’s natural resources, positively improve your health, and maybe even save a little money as well.

#1: Adopt a Natural Cosmetic Routine
There are so many chemicals that go into the average cosmetic product. By using natural products, you will be reducing the chemicals that you are putting on your skin, and eventually into the Earth. You can also adopt green habits by purchasing fewer beauty products in general, and by looking for products with two-in-one capabilities, for example, a conditioning shampoo. Why use two plastic bottles when one will do?

#2: Exchange Traditional Eyewear for Laser Surgery
Laser eye surgery has gone from being a luxury to a common and reliable procedure that makes glasses and contact lenses a thing of the past. Laser surgery corrects the cornea, so light falls accurately on the retina. By exchange your eyewear for laser surgery, you will be saving the materials necessary to make the glasses or contacts, as well as the fluid needed to clean them on a daily or monthly basis. If you need advice on the advantages of exchanging conventional contact lenses with surgery, you can find Lasik consultations in Minneapolis and many other states across the country.

#3: Eat in Season
Although most fruits and vegetables are now available year-round in the average grocery store, you can usually spot the ones that are in season. They are the juiciest, most delicious looking ones in the store. Eating vegetables that are grown in the appropriate season reduces the likelihood of ingesting harmful preservatives that are used to keep produce fresh during long distance travel. And not only that, seasonal produce usually tastes way better too!

#4: Exchange Cotton for Bamboo
Cotton is probably one of the most used fabrics on Earth but to grow it, you need a huge amount of water. There is an alternative to using cotton, however. Bamboo can be used to create an incredibly soft fabric that is fast becoming a popular choice for bedsheets and pillow cases. Bamboo is not only soft and requires less water to grow, it also absorbs moisture from the skin, in addition to removing harmful bacteria.

#5: Exercise Outside
Have you ever had a gym membership that you never used? Gym memberships can be costly to the consumer and, in addition, use up an inordinate amount of electricity operating treadmills day and night. Walking, running, or biking outside is free, uses no electricity, and it exposes the participant to a much needed dose of Vitamin D.

#6: Use Your Slow Cooker
Slow cookers can be a huge time-saver. Simply throw some ingredients into the slow cooker before work in the morning and you can come home to an absolutely delicious meal. Using a slow cooker offers many eco-friendly benefits as well. Cooking with an oven can generate a lot of heat. As slow cookers use less far less heat than conventional ovens, using one can help keep the kitchen cool, reducing the burden on your air conditioner. Slow cookers also use about the same amount of energy as the average lightbulb, so they can even save you money on your power bill!

#7: Limit the Amount of Tech Time
Watching television and using the computer, in addition to texting on cell phones, can consume an inordinate amount of time and electricity daily. By limiting the amount of time spent using these gadgets, you will not only save money, but you will also have more opportunities to interact with other humans. Another eco-friendly tip, many of these devices (like televisions) consume power even when they aren’t turned on. Investing in a power bar with a timer can shut off the power at the source at a predetermined time of night, then turn the flow back on in the morning.

All of these behaviors are simple ones that do not require a lot of money to adopt. By changing actions that can become toxic over time, or by adopting habits that allow reconnection with nature and other humans, you will be doing your part to save the Earth. And in the end, more than just the Earth will thank you. Your body will too!

How to Make Oven Roasted Organic Pumpkin Seeds

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Have you carved your pumpkins yet? We carved ours last night. Eben’s favorite part was scooping out the pumpkin goop with his bare hands. We saved all of the pumpkin seeds, washed and dried them, then baked them in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. Yum. Do you roast the seeds from your pumpkins?
If not, you should give it a try. Here are our 6 easy steps:
1- Scoop the pumpkin goop.
2- Rinse and dry the pumpkin seeds.
3- Mix the pumpkin seeds with a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt.
4- Spread the pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet.
5- Bake at 300° for  30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6- Enjoy while you catch up on your favorite fall sitcom.

How to Make Simple Upcycled Halloween Lanterns

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One of my favorite areas to decorate for Halloween is our front porch. It’s the perfect spot to share your Halloween decorations with visitors and neighbors! These painted glass lanterns are one of my favorite projects to pull out of storage every year. They are just so delightful!

What you will need:

What to do:

1. Spray the glass containers inside and outside.
2. Once dry, paint on the design or face that you would like.
3. Place a rechargeable or solar powered tea light inside.
4. Watch the delight on the faces of your neighbors as they walk by.

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What do you think of my Halloween lanterns?