Sunday, January 3, 2010

Healthy, Happy, Prosperous 2010!

"Wishing all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!"

You've heard that many times,
each and every New Year,
But let's really break it down here
How making more ecologically-minded changes can help you achieve better health, more happiness, and save money for the more important things in life!

1 - Laugh!
Yes, it sounds so simple, but how often do we let things get us down? Instead of complaining, criticizing, or defending yourself, make a joke about your short-comings and laugh! Find a way to crack a joke about how your husband never remembers to pick up his socks. Laughter releases endorphins and seratonin which improves your mood, and laughter is contagious afterall! My favorite quote from Patty Smith about what she admired most in her parents' was their "Resiliency, Humor, and Grace". You can even take a Laughter Yoga class for free! - with Dr. Andrew Eingorn on Monday evenings in Manhattan. You will leave relieved and invigorated!
2 - Let the Sunshine in!
Yes, even in these cold, bleek days of winter, try to get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight each and every day. Humans need vitamin D to enable a positive mood and just 15 minutes of direct sunlight will achieve just that. Whether it's a brisk walk on your lunch break(not through a window or sunglasses). Or start out your Saturday morning with a quick walk with your loved one. If the clouds just won't break, buy sunshine in a lamp! My husband got me the VERILUX6000 for Christmas, and let me tell you, now when the sun goes down at 5pm, instead of slumpling up on the couch and watching TV on the weekends, I turn on my lamp and keep on doing creative work in my home studio. It truly is a beacon of light.
3 - Spread it!
You can't do this alone, spread the love and good cheer with friends, family, loved ones, even your pets! Have afternoon brunch, parties, get the gang together for board games, karaoke, guitar hero, or that end of the week cocktail to say "Cheers" - get it? Cheer - Be Happy - Allow for silly, fun times. There's a reason it's called "Happy Hour" afterall!

-What is ONE, again, start simple, with ONE eco-logically minded change you can make to achieve better health?
Here's a list to choose from to help you along:
1 - Food! Go organic, Go local - start slowly, it could simply start with your dairy products, milk & eggs. And then your favorite fruits and vegetables. Or simply stop shopping the big mass supermarket, and switch to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
Shop that local farmer's market, even if it is just once a week. Make your lunch. So simple. So healthy. But there is a balance. You can allow yourself say ONCE a week to go out for a nice lunch-date, with a friend, or touch base with that recruiter so they keep you in mind with new job opportunites.
2 - Clean! Start buying or even better MAKING all natural cleaning products. Just look at my past blog for a plethora of new products cleaning products out there that are safe for you and the environment.
3 - Excersice! Yes, this is usually first on everyone's list. So make it more interesting. Take a martial arts class, or buy a yoga DVD and do it at home and save money instead of going to classes. We all know the benefits, relieving stress, maintaining that target weight, and overall just feeling stronger in body and mind. It is proven that brain functions like memory are improved through actual excercise because of increased circulation and the release of natural endorphins and seratonin.

By following the above tips, you will also save money. Instead of buying "junk food", and choosing healthier organic snacks, you won't get those cravings for food that does not truly fill you up, and actually end up saving money in the long run.
By making your own cleaning products, you will save money on those rediculous new and improved products filled with harmful chemicals. By making your own lunch, put that money you're saving into an interest baring savings account like ING direct, and save for that future vacation to a sunny, warm place!

ALSO - Go Easy on Yourself!
What is the ONE THING you cannot give up completely?
Then savor it in moderation. Save it for a "treat" instead of an every day habit. It gives you something to look forward to, and will become a reward in itself.
And again, then you can make the change gradually.
If you give yourself at-home manicures with all natural nail colors, it's OK to go to the salon once a month and have someone pamper you.
You've been a champion of eco-consciousness by brewing your own coffee every morning and bringing it to work in that Kleen Kanteen, so why not go to that gourmet shop every Friday afternoon and have them brew you up a cup and sit and savor it.

Also - Give yourself a check-in point. Say, April 1st when spring is blooming.
Have you stuck to that ONE CHANGE? Are you ready for more?

Remember, it's only benefiting yourself, those you love, and the very planet we call home.

And help spread good health, happiness, and prosperity in 2010 by supporting your friends and family as they pursue their goals, too.

All the best to you in 2010!
Make it the happiest, healthiest, most prosperous year yet!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Healthy Dose of Color!

Add color to your home with confidence. No need to “Cover the Earth” as the old Sherwin Williams phrase goes. That ominous red "goo" looks so wrong in today's green-minded world! The irony in the use of RED is that it is the opposing color to GREEN on the color wheel...So appropriately give your walls a fresh and healthy dose of color...and GO GREEN!

Breathe easier with ZERO VOC paint alternatives to the traditional, smelly and harmful latex paints.

What is off-gassing? You know it, because you can smell it from typical latex paints. It is the effect of VOC’s, Volatile Organic Compounds, harmful gases emitted from liquids & solids, typically found in latex paints. A VOC is a certain type of carbon compound that reacts with nitrous oxides in the air and actually creates harmful ground-level ozone. VOC’s linger in the air long after a project is finished, and are found in much higher concentrations indoors than outdoors - more reason to opt for ZERO VOC alternatives when applying a new paint job to your interior.

My fiancé and I were ready to give our old house a much needed make-over by adding a shot of color to our interior walls. Our color inspiration ranged from greens to golds. We chose a peaceful green tea hue for the living room to enduce rest and relaxation. And chose an appetizing mustardy gold for the dining room to evoke comfort and indulgance. Fortunately, it was one stop shopping at Home Depot, as we were lucky enough to find FRESH AIRE CHOICE paints there.

For our gold, we chose the warm and inviting Perennial Gold, and for our Green, the soft and soothing Northern Pear Tree. FRESH AIRE CHOICE offers a modest color palette of 65 hues, which actually made it easier to choose from a more concise range. This nature-inspired pallette has a modern feel and made a perfectly balanced backdrop to our colorful home décor.

There are a surprising number of low and ZERO VOC paint companies out there!
Visit their websites for store locators, or online sales. Many offer exterior paints as well.

Average price on a gallon is around $35-$55 depending on the brand.
Here are some more fresh choices:

MYTHIC offers a huge range of colors from Brights to Earthtones, black and white. In a variety of finishes from flat to high gloss. They can match competitors’ colors, too. So if you fall in love with a no-no latex paint, send them a chip and they’ll match it.

SAFE COAT is zero VOC and contains no harmful preservatives, chemicals, or heavy metals. It utilizes molecular technology that actually seals surfaces, eliminating “off-gassing”. There are over 1000 colors to choose from. They also offer stains, sealers, clear finishes, and safe cleaners, too. Available in the NorthEast at Green Depot
Safe Building in the Midwest, and Living Green on the West Coast. Visit their website to find the nearest store.

For an "instant" eclectic alternative, "just add water" to REAL MILK PAINT. Use it to brighten walls, enhance floors, or finish decks, and it is a wonderful way to repaint new or antique wood furniture. For a rustic feel, it allows the natural beauty of the wood to come through. Visit their website to see pictures of proud customer’s creative home projects.

Hailing from Sweden, ALLBACK ORGANIC LINSEED OIL paints boast a 1000 year old history, and their claim to fame is a 50 year longevity on their exterior paints. Interior paints, linseed oil based stains and waxes available, too. Viking Sales is the sole distributor in the United States, as is not available in stores. Order direct online as they ship anywhere in North America.
They also offer a remarkable safe way to remove paint utilizing infrared technology:
And certified organic cleaning products, too:

BIOSHIELD based in New Mexico offers solvent-free paints, and interesting alternatives to decorative wall touches such as color washes, clay paints, clay plaster, and milk paints, too For a truly southwestern
inspired appearance, play with clay paints and plasters. Get a pint for about $10 to test a paint color before you commit. Nontoxic stains, natural brushes, and healthy cleaners are also available.

AMERICAN PRIDE PAINT was created right here in the U.S.A. at the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally developed by polymer scientists for the US Department of Defense, the goal was to eliminate offgassing in tradition latex paints. The concept received so much media coverage that the public asked where could they get in on this for their own homes. Features over 940 colors and color-matching service.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


After featuring how to detox and cleanse yourself after the holidays and housework, it’s time to focus on safe products for cleaning your home.

I was appauled by a Clorox Bleach commercial featuring their cleaning products in a kid’s classroom in order to prevent the spread of germs. Well, chlorine bleach is one of the most toxic chemicals you could expose a child’s delicate system to. Again, we as “average” Americans are getting their information from advertisers, when their goal is to sell – not to educate!

I am happy to report also, that even the Clorox Company has started a line called “Green Works.” Now again, I was weary, as they are a big corporate company, and just because it says “natural” on the label, it could be an advertising ploy. But alas! I read the contents and it contains plant and mineral based cleaning agents that are biodegradable, and not tested on animals. It contains no phosphorus and no bleach. No Bleach! The very company that is synonymys with bleach is developing products without it! My fiancé and I have tested it, it works just as well as the other toilet bowl cleaners that contain bleach. We also live in a neighborhood with one huge mainstream grocery store, and was surprised they carried some of the newest eco-friendly brands like Method.

And well, you have to take a moment to realize what this really means in the bigger scope of things. It means that the bigger corporate companies are changing, because of where we as consumers are putting our dollars. It just goes to show, that our buying power IS changing the way even the big corporate companies function! I know as an individual you may think, “well, I’m just one person,” or “my neighbor is still using the harmful stuff, so his crap is going down the drain while my eco friendly is mixing with it.” Well, if we keep making choices otherwise, can you imagine one day when the government bans Chlorine and that neighbor will have no other choice! So let’s show those companies what products are the right ones now, and for future generations.

So here is a concise explanation of dangerous chemicals found in cleaning products, and a list of the “green” ones. Pull out all those cleaning products from your cabinets and read the labels. Of course after you have deduced what is safe and what is toxic, the dilema is what to do with it: either use it up, donate it to a local church…? as you don’t just want to dump down the drain. Well, that choice is up to you, and simply making the commitment not purchase them any more is a huge first step. If this seems all new to you, carry with you the next time you shop the list of harmful contents and names of companies that are eco-friendly…and become an avid label reader! This is the BEST way to make educated purchasing decisions.

Avoid these harmful chemicals:
Alkylphenol Ethoxylate - is a “stain remover” – harmful to immune system & disrupts hormones
Ammonia – poisonous when swallowed, eye, nose & throat irritant, lethal gas when mixed with bleach
Glycol Ether aka Butyl Cellosolve – damages nervous system, bone marrow, and the kidney and liver. The EPA Clean Air Act has classified as hazardous air pollutant
Chlorine Bleach – emits a poisonous gas, is an eye, nose, throat, skin, and lung irritant, harmful. May damage immune and reproductive systems. Is harmful to our water systems and rivers and lakes when washed down the drain

Formeldehyde - highly toxic & a known carcinogen
Phenol - suspected carcinogen, fatal if swallowed
Phosphates – harmful to the environment and our water supplies: when drained into lakes algae over-produce and consume the phosphates, then microorganisms consume the algae depleating water of oxygen resulting in lakes and rivers drying up! – found in dishwashing liquids and laundry detergents
Sodium Hydroxide – eye, nose, and throat irritant: found in drain, metal and oven solutions

Sodium Laurel Sulfate - a common "de-greaser" is a carcinogen, toxin, genetic mutagen

And “terms” that are not natural or necessarily safe:
Antibacterial – strips away your bodies’ natural defenses to protect against germs
Fragrance – is usually artificial, or petrochemicals
Nontoxic – is not a term verified by the government
All-Natural – again, sometimes it’s an advertising ploy – READ THE CONTENTS

I call this the safety zone:
Here is a list of more environmentally-friendly ingredients:
Look for:
Enzymes - instead of phosphates or solvents

Plant-based surfactants
Coconut oil
Vegetable-based cleansing agents

Liquid castile soap
Vegetable glycerin
photo:Sacremento Magazine, Beth Baugher

Here is an entire list of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Companies and Products:
(There are so many,
and so many more I have yet to discover, I'm sure!)
Green Works by Clorox
Mrs. Meyers
Solay Simple

Timothy Corrigan Home Care
Orange Glo
Bon Ami

Daddy Van’s

Click on any of the company's websites above, they provide a store finder to find where products are sold. Some of them offer free samples & coupons, too! Or you can order directly online from their website and they may offer a discount on shipping. Most are available at great discount prices on &

Start smart, Start simple with the ECOS Kitchen Starter Kit, includes 4 products for under $20!*pictured above*

The “greenest” you can go – is truly all natural, the most environmentally friendly list:
Mix with water, put into empty spray bottles and create your own, effective, truly all natural cleaners:
White Vinegar – mix half and half with water for all surfaces, (except wood) Best for windows! Lemon Juice – add to vinegar to cut the sour smell – lemon juice is anti-bacterial too!
Baking Soda – a good scrubbing powder for sinks, tiles, and bathtubs & absorbs odors
Borax - an "oldie but a goodie" - brightens laundry (instead of bleach), use as toilet bowl cleaner, too. My mother used this, and my grandmother, too!
Hydrogen Peroxide – great degreaser and natural sanitizer. It is considered an oxygen cleaner, great for cleaning for wood or plastic cutting boards
Olive Oil – great for polishing wood
Lemon Oil – wood polish, smells great too!

Other quick tips:

No more sponges! – they harbor bacterias & mold, use organic cotton wash-cloths instead
Avoid paper towels! – use old cotton knit tshirts as rags to wipe things clean. Then wash & re-use them again and again. If you can't kick the paper towel habit, at least buy them unbleached. Or use biodegradable wipes by Method & Green Works.

WANT YOUR "ECO" VOICE HEARD? Sign petitions against companies who continue to use harmful chemicals, host a "green cleaning party", and to get more information on safe cleaners go to this amazing website: Women's Voices for the Earth:

Happy Healthy Cleaning for the New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What a better way to ring in the New Year than to focus on your temple, your body...that is. After the stress of the holidays, it’s time to take a moment and simply pamper yourself, re-energize for those new home projects you’re lining up in 2009! I’m in the process of tackling a new paint job with my fiancé to add some much needed punch of color to our home. We have been blessed with the passing down of his parents’ house to us. And as we’re getting down and dirty with renovations I’m always relieved after a project is complete to revel in the fabulous results, and to bathe and wash away the grime of a hard day’s work down the drain! It’s been a real work in process over the last year, and what really has inspired the launching of this blog. Making improvements in keeping with environmentally friendly design and material choices…the results of that will be posted up here soon!

But first, let’s focus on pampering your temple, your body.

The inspiration for taking a closer look at my own skin regime was thanks to Sophie Uliano’s new book “Gorgeously Green”. I was delighted to have received it as a Christmas gift from my future mother-in-law, as she knows I’m on the path to making my life healthier, and “greener”. Uliano outlined a very well researched chapter on all skin care products for him, for her, and for baby. It was from reading her book that inspired me to take a closer look at what I’ve been considering a simple, clean routine and surprised at what was in my products…and changed to some new organic products.

A great routine for these drying winter months is a cleansing lotion for face, a gentle exfoliant rids your skin of dirt & old cells that won’t leave your face too dry or red, and a hydrating lotion.

Jurlique is known for its all organically grown and formulated skin care products. I am the balancing Cleansing Lotion. Their “biodynamic blends” are made of herbs and flowers from certified organic and biodynamic farms in South Australia.

Caudalie Paris Hydrantant Radiance Day Fluid SPF8
The secret? The grape! Yes, the grape seed contains polyphenols- one of the most powerful anti-oxidants freeing your skin of free radicals. It boasts no parabens or phenoxyethenol, no mineral oils are artificial colorings, and no sodium laurel sulfate. I’m using it now, it leaves the most amazing natural glow to your visage.

The SPLURDGE – Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant
Is the most gorgeous color aqua blue and contains pineapple and papaya enzymes. The only reason I justified my splurge on this one, is also to test out what I’ll be using before my wedding day this coming May…and it is something “blue”…afterall! Trust me, you’re worth it!

And none of the above companies tests on animals, nor uses ingredients derived from our fellow furry friends.

It’s really easy to get free samples by being super friendly and honest with the sales associate. I simply stated I’m doing research before purchasing, and she gave me a some.

Here is a cohesive list of well researched ingredients thanks to Uliano that should be avoided as they may be carcinogens or allergins:

Coal Tar
Lead and Mercury
Mineral Oils
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Polyethylene Glycol
SD-40 Isopropyl Alchohol
Tocopherol Acetate
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)
Cationic Surfactants
Benzyl Alcohol
Silicone Derived Emollients

The best exercise Uliano suggests is to pull all your products from your bathroom including soap, shampoo, deodorant, shower gels, lotions, skin care products, cosmetics, etc… and scan those labels for any of the above ingredients, and make note of what not to purchase and use on your precious body any more!

For more explanation on each ingredient listed above, and why categorized as harmful, go to And roam Sopie Uliano’s website for more amazing info on going green beautifully!

Ring in the New Year revived and refreshed!
at top photo credit: the White Barn Inn & Spa, Kennebunkport, Maine

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello, and salutations to the year end, 2008...

and welcome to the New Year 2009!

Looking forward to an inspiring year of new and vital information relating to all things GREEN!

I took a break from my blog to pursue a fabulous class from September to December cleverly entitled Materialogical at Parsons The New School here in New York City. Matthew Hoey, a designer himself, taught the class. It was mind-opening and amazing. Not only did he cover eco-friendly materials, but really evaluated the pros and cons to both "green" and synthetic materials, manufacturing and design techniques. Hoey covered everything from interior design to fashion to architecture. It will be offered again starting in February of 2009. I highly recommend it for all design professionals! Amazing on-location field trips to museums, design studios, guest speakers in the field of "green" design, and innovative buildings right here in New York City.

For more information on the class, visit Parsons website and look for Materialogical PCID 1110

and here is the link to Matthew Hoey's website, Materialogical, outlining by catagory the plethora of amazing materials that are out there being developed and in use today:

What better way to start the New Year than with enrolling in a class to expand your knowledge in the "field of green" !

Cheers to an ever-evolving 2009!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

BAMBOO TOWELS reign over Cotton

Dry off with a bamboo blend or all bamboo towel, for a truly fresh finish.

One of the advantages of bamboo as the newest choice for towels is its naturally silky feel, making it gentle against the skin. The anti-bacterial qualities of bamboo are ideal for towels, as they repel mildew and bacterias that like to grow in moist conditions. And bamboo also dries quickly and actually becomes softer wash after wash.

According to Consumer Reports, bamboo not only measures up to cotton in terms of its high absorbency, they surpass some tests compared to cotton towels for softness, color fastness, and pill resistance.

photo credit: Kelli
Below are a range of price points from $ (inexpensive) to $$$ (luxe)

for bamboo rich towels, with a touch of cotton. These are the best price, and in an array of soft hues. The ideal choice for affordable mix and match options. Look for their matching bamboo bath rugs and robes, too!

For the purist, ECOBATHROOM offers 100% bamboo. Pure white has no dyes so these are ideal for those with sensitive skin. Sold as a set only. Also offered in natural.

LANDS END offers a blend of bamboo and cotton in this rich cable pattern. There is also an option to custom monogram for that added touch of class making a luxurious gift. Buy individually, or as a handsome set. Colors are simply khaki or white.

Bamboo towels will continue to soften wash after wash. You may be tempted to use liquid fabric softener, but this will actually leave a film on the towels which decrease their absorbency, and may leave a “waxy feel.” Opt for dryer sheets instead. Machine wash delicate and tumble dry low for best results. Never use bleach. If your towels have a few loose threads, this happens to be a natural characteristic of the bamboo fiber. With a sharp scissors, simply snip the loose threads close to the surface. This will prevent them from pulling and thus avoiding damage.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Bamboo is the perfect décor for the bath. Naturally resistant to water and easy to wipe clean these bamboo bath accessories are both fashionable and functional.
And with a smooth to the touch finish, bamboo products will transform any bathroom into a zen-like home spa experience!

GAIAM - Bamboo Shower & Bath Caddy

Choose from either the shower caddy or bath tub caddy…or go for both! The perfect choice to organize and showcase your bath essentials. Bamboo is smooth to the touch, enhancing your soothing home spa experience.

PLANK – Bamboo Series Bath Robe

Add that special touch of luxury to your home spa experience. Wrap yourself in “chocolate” in this luscious bamboo blended bathrobe by PLANK. Bamboo fibers offer high absorbency and possess anti-bacterial properties for a truly fresh finish to your bath. PLANK offers a towel set, too.

What a great way to give the gift of pampering!
Featured on the all eco-friendly, all-fashionable eshop, NIMLI. *photo credit: Nimli

CRATE AND BARRELL - Bamboo Bath Accessories

Finish your bathroom décor with these handsome accents. CRATE AND BARREL offers a deep rich finish to their bamboo bath accessories. Enhanced by their natural grain, these clean forms are both functional and fashionable.

CB2 – Bamboo Bath Mat

Fun meets function with this uniquely designed bamboo bath mat from CB2. Definied by bamboo bars forming a flexible grid that feels cool and therapeutic. The caramelized color is achieved naturally by heating the bamboo. Backed with non-skid rubber to stay in place after stepping out from that relaxing bath. Water resistant and easy care, just wipe it clean.

Spun Bamboo BathAccessories

The natural beauty of spun bamboo comes through in these practical yet stylish bamboo bath accessories from World Market. Use individually or as a set to organize all your bath necessities. The containers are stylish enough to use in the office or bedroom, too!