Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hopkins Spring Fair!

At the last minute on the very last day of the Johns Hopkins Spring Fair, I decided to make the trek down to the world reknowned Homewood Campus. Hopkins has always held a place in my heart - my mom worked in the Biochemistry Department of the JHU School of Medicine for 35+ years - so it always feels like going home for me.

Of course it had to be the one weekend in April where the temperature soared into the upper 90's! If that wasn't bad enough, the beer garden's entire keg supply was NOT in trucks (or even iced!) and was nothing but warm foam...this really put a damper on my day.

As I always do, I gravitate toward the student-artisits' incredible mix of creativity and genius on every level. From an Asian student that hand carves wooden frogs that make a real frog sound when the tiny stick provided is rubbed on it's back to a Jewish painter whose visits to Jerusalem's Wailing Wall inspired his latest emotional works to a self-proclaimed hippie-chick's laptop protectors/purses made from recycled coffee bags... ( ) ...pure genius!

The artwork, crafts, clothing, jewelry and food reflects this very diverse, multicultural utopia in the middle of Baltimore truly is a treasure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I am ALWAYS looking for ways to save time & money, while striving to raise my family in a toxic-free, all-organic home and minimally impacting the environment.

Below are some of my Favorite Things (Oprah isn't the only one with an opinion or idea) honor of Earth Day. I am always looking for new products to try and new ways to make a difference. Remember that every little step counts - together we can spread the (environmentally-friendly) word.

1. Klean Kanteen
With the billions of plastic water bottles being produced and discarded, (not to mention the negative health effects of leaching chemicals from plastic material) these stainless steel reusable bottles are a great investment and the smartest solution for our on-the-go lifestyles. They come in several sizes & colors as well as baby bottles, sippy cups and even a WINE Kanteen!!!

2. PERF Go Green Biodegradable Trash Bags
Genious! If all you place into these bags is compost-able waste, you will eliminate trash sitting in landfills for thousands of years...they disintegrate in less than 2 years! PERF also makes pet waste pick-up bags & litter box liners - so cool!

3. Jane Be Pure AquaCueticals Organic Sheer Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 could be's a moisturizer, sunscreen and sheer makeup/bronzer all in one - and at this price (I got mine on sale for like $5 @ Walgreens) you can really slather it on.

4. Organic Hemp Bags
With Hemp being one of the most environmentally friendly materials, you cant go wrong with several of these (in different styles too!) for all your shopping/running errands/travel needs.

5. gDiapers FLUSHABLE & Biodegradable Diapers
Awesome invention for mom's on the go (and much less messy than the organic cloth ones I used...ugh). You start with the 'system' that comes with 2 colorful cloth covers and a bunch of 'liners'. The covers are washable and the liners are flushable! Again - genious!(I had to pick these since I recently purchased a bunch of 'green' baby products for a friend..although I am anxiously waiting to hear how well they work???)

6. Norma Kamali Organic Cotton Tees @ WALMART! (for like $6 each)
Yes, I am still boycotting Target (a year& a half now) and although I am not a huge fan of the mega-stores (I am a Ma & Pa supporter or an online shopper 99% of the time) is nice to see that Walmart carries a full line of organic cotton clothing and bedding as well as recycled paper/tissue products and non-toxic cleaners. (They even carry organic milk!) Take that Target!

7. Natural Choice Environmentally Sensitive Baby Wipes you have a baby or not, everyone needs a portable handy-wipe in their purse, their car or their picnic basket once in a while. These are biodegradable, chlorine-free, fragrance-free and made from 100% renewable resourses.

8. Staples 100% eco-friendly office & school supplies
The 100% post-consumer recycled printing paper, sugar cane notebooks/notepads/looseleaf and their compost-able coffee cups are just a few of my favorites here. 'that was easy'

9. BonTerra Organic Wine Out of all the organic (American) wines I have tried...their Cabernet Sauvignon is by far my favorite.

10. Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Organic Tampons I am still amazed when I mention these that so many woman have never even heard of organic tampons and are still using TOXIC 'feminine' products (ugh, I HATE that expresion). No 'regular' stores even carry these unfortunately...try David's Natural Market, Trader Joes, or Whole Foods. Not only are they chlorine (poison!) free & made with organic cotton, they have no applicator (extra waste) and they work even better than the old standards. Kinda crazy that I have seen numerous studies over the last 5 years about 'bleached' white coffee filters and their toxic dangers to can easily find 'un-bleached, natural coffee filters everywhere - yet no one seems to care what we woman put into our bodies..literally!

11. The Local Library!
Books, DVDs, CDs, video games & toys...recycling at it's best! It is one of my favorite places on earth & I go EVERY week. Best of all it's absolutely FREE!

12.PRESERVE Toothbrush by Recycline
Made from 100% recycled materials including plastic organic yogurt containers! (and the packaging is actually a travel case.)

13. Billabong Eco Boardshorts
Made from recycled water bottles - Mr. Festival has the 'United Nations' one in the link & it is wonderfully comfortable plus it dries almost immediately.

14. Frigoverre; Glass storage bowls from Italy
No need for wasteful storage plastic wrap, foil, or baggies and no toxic 'leakage' from plastic storage containers - go from fridge to heat/serve.

15* Books: 'Easy Green Living' by Renee Loux and 'Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner Greener World' are 2 of my faves. Education is the key to 'green' (non-toxic/organic/eco-freindly) living. These books are simple and really explain why making a few important everyday changes can actually save your family's health, as well as the earth.

16. Green Box Pizza Boxes It's a pizza to-go box that becomes it's own plates AND it's made of 100% recycled materials. This could make a huge difference on college campuses around the world!

17. Organic Flowers & Gift Baskets Delivered Awesome idea!

18. GO NAKED! Naked Juice that is... Naked is one of the only earth/human/animal friendly beverages out there...and it's TERRIFIC!

btw: THINK TWICE before purchasing COKE, PEPSI or NESTLE products (READ LABELS: they make THOUSANDS of producst). They are STEALING water for profit in the US, and charging for clean water in very poor countries around the world. They have NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE.


**Some of the most important things you can do every day to save our planet...

-Boycott STYROFOAM products (DOW Chemical Co) and any business that uses it - it is not burnable (very toxic) or recyclable and sits in a landfill forever!

-Use all non-disposable items: cloth knapkins, cleaning rags, hand towels, dish rags...use only REAL dishes, glasses & utensils (I mean, no one really enjoys paper plates & plastic utensils/cups anyway)

-If you must use disposable items (foil, baggies, tissue, etc) use ONLY 100% recyclable products AND RECYCLE THEM. (store brands like Trader Joes & Whole Foods 365 are economical as are some big name brands such as Reynolds)

-Use only biodegradable/plant based cleaners, non-toxic paints, organic bedding/towels and high quality air/furnace filters to make your home as toxic free as possible for your family and pets.

-DON'T USE CHEMICALS on your family's farms/lawns/gardens; pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers DIRECTLY HARM OUR WATERWAYS and affect the hormone/endocrine balance & health of both animals AND humans.(*Watch Frontline's 'Poisoned Water' documentary how farming & industrial waste affect our wildlife and drinking water as well as the water-treatment business' role; featuring the Chesapeake Bay watershed & Pungent Sount in the NW......if you LOVE seafood, boating/sailing/surfing/swimming and the beach/water like I do - this is a must to see.)

-Use public transportation (if you are lucky enough to live in a foreign country or a US city that HAS great public transportation - NOT Baltimore!)

-GO ORGANIC!!! When someone 'goes organic', they eliminate MANY chemicals in EVERYONES environment...if we ALL went organic, it would send a message to farmers & govenment - there is no need for public policy when we can 'vote' with our wallet......every purchase/choice you make - matters!

- of my favortie sites for just about everything.

-OH YEA...I almost forgot the obvious - RECYCLE! anything & everything that is not biodegradable (ie natural & decomposable). It's the easiest, cheapest way to make a HUGE one want's to live on a trash planet.


For the future...I still have a few items I want to 'invest' in within the next few months:
(I am the type that anything over $50 is a 'bigticket' purchase - so I have to do lots of research).

a) A Worm Composter

b) Organic Hemp Shower Curtain???

c) Electric Lawn Mower/Weed-Wacker/Leaf Blower


The Eco-Karts that are all over DC...way cool (and delicious!)