March 23, 2010 (12:50 am)

Organic Soy Candles. Ok. Here’s the Deal.

topics: Green Home
by Kristen Suzanne

Organic Soy & Vegetable Wax Candle. Isn't it pretty?

I love candles. A lit candle at my desk has a very calming effect on me. Suppose, for instance, I get a crappy email for whatever reason, all I have to do is look at my lit candle — day or night — and I’m like… “aahhhhh.” I also like to have one lit while I’m getting ready in the bathroom, even combined with the regular lighting. It’s a spa-girly thing. And, of course, candles are always nice for romance in any room. ;) All it takes is a little theatrics to lend a touch of the exotic to everyday life. Let’s hear it for mood lighting, every day! … Right?

Well, turns out, maybe not every day. Here’s the thing… wait, back up a moment…  I’m definitely not an expert in all things green (I’m learning more every day), but, on my journey toward living more sustainably, I’ve been wondering lately, “Are candles eco-friendly?” I mean, I frequently see black smoke coming from them, and what’s with those soot stains on the wall near where the candle was burning?! Breathing that can’t be good. Because candles were part of my daily ritual (as opposed to an occasional treat), I decided I needed to find out more about them. The last thing I wanted was to feel guilty for using candles — or worse, anxiety — when their very purpose for me is to create an atmosphere of relaxation.

Here’s the skinny: I’m at a candle crossroads. Read More »

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March 10, 2010 (5:50 am)

Bamboo Clothing, Bedding, and Towels

topics: Green Home
by Kristen Suzanne

Our pet bamboo

For some time now, I’ve been gradually transitioning my family’s life to a greener existence. First, I  started with food. Then, I incorporated body/beauty care products and household cleaners. Then, I started tackling some more expensive items like clothes. When I became pregnant, I decided that the only thing I want touching my baby’s skin will be organic clothes — at least, to the extent that is realistically possible. Finally, I’m starting to address household items such as towels, rugs, bedding, etc., which of course can get quite pricey. One way I addressed the cost was by asking for these items during the holidays — they weren’t just on my wish list, they were my list — and from this, I received organic cotton kitchen and bath towels (yay!). Another time I asked for organic cotton sheets and received them for my birthday.

In the past, I have bought some organic sheets for our bed that I had found for cheap prices at places like Overstock.com. But I can’t help but wonder… are these really eco-friendly? In the U.S., the law requires that any producer wanting to label and sell a product as “organic” must meet the standards established by the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. That’s terrific and all, but — call me paranoid — if lead paint can show up in toys, I don’t put all of my faith in regulations to assure that a company has the same values that I do. There is a reason the term “green washing” was created after all. Therefore, I want to know more about a company’s culture and attitude about organics and sustainability. I want to know just how eco-driven they are, if that makes sense. For example, sometimes there are descriptions about a company and they make a point to describe the materials they use, proudly boasting an explanation as to their suppliers, materials used, and going above and beyond to assure buyers that the products are totally eco-friendly. But with other companies, sometimes it’s very vague and I can’t help but wonder if they’re just throwing around buzz words as an afterthought. I want to buy from a manufacturer or merchant that takes it as seriously as I do. Read More »

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March 7, 2010 (2:32 am)

Green Cleaning Products to Dazzle Up Your House

topics: Green Home
by Kristen Suzanne

The time is coming… for Spring Cleaning! Does anyone get a little bit excited about that like I do? When spring comes, I think we can’t help but to bust open the windows, air out our living quarters, turn our smiling faces to the sunshine, walk barefoot, and clean our houses. After that… cleaning doesn’t always sound so fun to me – lol. However, it must be done. On a regular basis. As a result, it’s imperative that we use non-toxic, green cleaning products so that our earth is happier and our health isn’t adversely affected. So, I have some non-toxic, safe for family and environment tips and ideas to share with you. Some of these are ready-to-use products that you can buy in health food and specialty stores, and some of these you can easily make at home (which usually saves money!).

Here are some of the things I’m doing to keep my home clean:

LAUNDRY

Dr. Bronners - For a long time now, I’ve used 1-2 caps of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap for our family’s laundry. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this for my future baby’s clothes (the unscented version) when the time comes as well. It’s important to stay away from normal commercial clothes soap when washing your baby’s clothes because their skin is so delicate. There are some natural brands on the market just for baby’s, such as Seventh Generation (I think), and I might try those, too. I can’t imagine it getting any simpler than Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap though. Note: for extra brightening power, you can add 3 oz of chlorine free bleach by Seventh Generation as the water fills up (before adding your clothes) – you may want to test laundry soaps before using on a whole load to make sure they don’t alter colors or materials. Read More »

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March 3, 2010 (10:22 am)

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Kids

topics: Green Home
by Kristen Suzanne

Ahhh… the thought of children squealing with delight while they open gifts (well, fun and cool gifts that is – no underwear or socks – lol)… well, it brings me such a smile as I witness their excitement. It doesn’t get much better than happy children, eh?

When I buy gifts I buy them with real intent. My goal is to make the child happy, of course, but it’s also imperative to make the earth happy with my selection. To do this: I pick out environmentally friendly presents not only because it’s better for the environment, but also because it’s healthier for the kids! Most conventional toys these days are hard on our environment because of the amount of petroleum used in their production, the toxic ingredients included (BPA, phthalates, etc that can be harmful for health reasons), and the way they’re filling up our landfills is ridiculous. Plus, over the years, it’s been scary to read about the various recalls for toys coming out of China due to lead content. Read More »

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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