Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day!

As commercialized as Valentine's Day has become I still love it. It is yet another reminder for me to show the special people in my life how much I love them. Most holidays leave me with a gaping hole in my wallet, and sadly this one is no exception. This year I was determined to do Valentine's Day on a budget (ahh, the life of a college student!) while making a conscious effort to make sure my choices are good for the earth too. I made collage/mosaic cards from scraps of paper and words from old magazines and newspapers. I set out with $5 and I was able to get glue, some glitter and a few other decorations.

For those of you with something in mind other than homemade cards I found some awesome gift ideas for moms and babies alike!

For moms:
I have been a fan of LUSH products for years and I love that they make their products from fresh organic fruits and veggies, and safe synthetics. They only purchase ingredients from companies that do not test on animals. The Floating Island Bath Melt is one of my favorite products. I always end my bath feeling relaxed and refreshed. Yet again maybe I just like this bath melt because it's shaped like a cupcake!

For baby:
Inhabitots' "Heart for Haiti Onesie" is made from 100% organic cotton with a sweatshop free design. What's even better than the adorable design is the fact that 50% of the proceeds will be sent to CARE to contribute to the Haitian disaster relief effort.

Photo courtesy of LUSH.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This chore is not a bore!

Well, for some, this might be a bore but my favorite thing to do is laundry. I love shopping for laundry detergent, and figuring out ways to organize dirty laundry. I enjoy spending time folding clothes and organizing them. Don't get me wrong, I love all types of cleaning products but laundry detergent is my absolute favorite. To me there is nothing better than taking a load of wash out of the dryer and seeing all the sparkling clean towels, shirts, and socks. It may seem a bit exaggerated but I speak the truth. I've been noticing the eco-downfalls in my lifestyle and my choice of detergents has been no exception. Until recently I followed the tide (pun intended) but no more! I have discovered some wonderful detergents that are phosphate-free, dye-free, higher concentration, with a biodegradable or plant based container.

My two favorites:

Method Laundry products:
Their products are ultra concentrated and contain a plant-based formula. To top off the quality of the soap, the bottle that holds the detergent is made from 50% recycled plastic. This is by far the most concentrated detergent I have come across and the easy pump feature makes doing laundry less messy-- no more drippy lids with soap residue in the cap!

Seventh Generation:
The Seventh Generation detergents have no dyes or fragrance, no phosphates, are safe for septic and gray-water systems, contain no animal derived ingredients and are hypoallergenic. They have options for 2x concentration as well as a detergent formula specifically for babies!

Both products have pages with coupons on their websites along with laundry and cleaning tips.

Remember when shopping for detergent to consider the type of washing machine you own. If you have a front loader, look for detergent marked with HE (high efficiency). The high efficiency detergents will help keep your washer in working condition (if you use regular detergent on a front loading machine you can cause serious mechanical failures) and keep your clothes cleaner. If you have a top loading machine it works best to let a powder detergent dissolve in a few inches of water before washing your clothes.

If for some reason you are looking for something eco-friendly to wash in an environmentally friendly fashion check out Satsuma Designs' line of blankets and bedding. I can't imagine anything better than a fresh, clean bamboo velour crib sheet fresh from the laundry :)

I enjoyed writing about detergent so much.... I think I'll go do some laundry!

Photo courtesy of Seventh Generation

The toothbrush blues.

I was unfortunate enough to catch the oooogy sickness going around last week. Being a germ-a-phob I make it a point to replace my toothbrush immediately after my ooogy sickness has gone away or anytime my toothbrush is compromised (falls on the ground or in the sink--a simple rinse of water does not suffice!!). I finally realized how destructive my habit could be to the environment, so I set out to find a quality eco-friendly toothbrush, and find I did!! Preserve sells an awesome toothbrush made entirely from recycled yogurt cups. This product is BPA free, made in the USA (meaning less fuels are used transporting from country to country AND it helps keep jobs in the US), and my personal favorite part about this product... it is NOT tested on animals! There are tons of great colors available as well as your choice of bristle firmness. They also have a jr toothbrush for the kids. Their products can be found at Trader Joe's, PCC, Metropolitan Market as well as many other stores. Check out their whole line of personal care products and other awesome recycled items on their website.

If you're in the market for other bath products check out Satsuma Designs' all new, all natural bamboo washcloths. These washcloths are ultra soft, ultra absorbent and a great way to wash up tiny faces after washing tiny teeth :)

Happy brushing!

Photo courtesy of Preserve

Monday, February 1, 2010

$20 or Less to a Great, Green Nursery: Pull One Over On 'Em

One way to sweeten or spice up any nursery decor is so simple, it gets over looked. I'm talking about drawer pulls or nobs on baby's dresser or toy chest. Now before you run to baby's room and start unscrewing those tired and scratched nobs to toss, scan your art supply bin for a few colors of craft paint (non toxic!) and grab sketch pad and pen(cil). Get ready to update your drawer pulls into a custom look just for your little bundle.

Consider spelling baby's name, giving life to your favorite pregnancy doodle or writing baby's first words on individual, updated nobs.

Or search the garage for some thick gauge rope/twine and turn baby's dresser into one fit for the high seas.

And if you want some more inspiration to brighten baby's abode, check out these ADORABLE hand-painted nobs from SweetMixCreations.

Photo courtesy of SweetMixCreations

Create and Eco-Luxe Nursery for $20 or Less

It's not much of a brainstorm, but I'm always thinking about ways to share some easy, yet savvy and affordable sustainable design ideas. At Satsuma Designs we create all natural gifts and gear for baby and home in organic materials. We focus on soft goods - bamboo baby bedding, organic cotton burp cloths, bamboo hats, onesies and more, but we know as well as any parent that cute bedding is NOTHING without a great bed to complement. Likewise a green nursery doesn't have to look like you appropriated garage overflow to baby's room.

With a few updates, each for less than $20, we'll help you create a one of a kind, superb looking nursery that will please even your toughest critic, baby, of course! So, stay tuned for this series that I hope you, dear reader, will enjoy and put to good use.

String Beans for the Long, Lean and Everyone In Between

Leave it to moms to find a solution to anything! Two northwest moms in search of pants that fit their long, lean and growing kiddos launched String Beans Clothing Co. This adorable site features a few styles of pants sure to please young and older shoppers.

What's more is their sustainable approach to clothing. They invented cufflinx(TM) shown here to give their pants or any pair an extra l-o-n-g life. The no-sew solution adds a great looking cuff to any pair of pants. In a couple of dozen print options there's something for every style seeker. It's so green!

Photo courtesy of String Beans Clothing Co.