17
Apr

Earthling Month and Whole Foods Giveaway

by Tiffany in Tidbits

earth month whole foods

Attn: Giveaway at the bottom of this post!

The Whole Foods market is celebrating Earth Day and beyond this year by transforming their stores into a hub for Earthings – humans inspired by the beauty and bounty of the earth. They are hoping to create a place for people to gather and share ideas for Earth friendly activities both online and in stores. In honor of this initiative they have created EarthlingMonth.com, which is a snapshot of all those participating via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. There are prompts on the site to give you ideas on what to share. Just now I see this on the site “Vintage charm. What is salvaged, repurposed or reclaimed in your home?”.

I uploaded a photo of my vintage Pyrex refrigerator dishes.

vintage pyrex

I love how this initiative allows you to show the little things you are ALREADY doing for the earth. It’s great to be out there planting trees or collecting garbage from your local waterways but we do lots of little things every day and it’s nice to celebrate those as well. if you look at the site you see a variety of answers and photos…pictures of people gardening, showing off their flowers, talking about how they reuse things every day, photos of bees and a beehive, etc. We all live different lives but we can unite in this common cause and there are TONS of ways to do it.

Just share via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and use the hashtag #wfmearthling if you want to participate. By adding to the stream you are entered to win a $150 Whole Foods market gift card.

You can also win a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card here! To win just fill out the form below. The giveaway will end April 24th and the winner will get their gift card virtually via email after I confirm their email address. Then you can print it an use it! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

9 Comments

11
May

TGIF – NatureBox, Baby Books, and Fifty Shades

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! Have a great weekend and Mother’s Day all! I am hoping to kickstart my weekend this morning with a viewing of Dark Shadows at the theater and then watching the Central East Regional CrossFit games on ESPN3 since some of the guys/gals from my gym are competing. Go team CFNA! It would be lovely to go in person since they are in Columbus, OH but I think my kids would be bored out of their minds. The rest of the weekend is pretty up in the air. We have been invited to a picnic and there is an herb festival the next town over. Lots of possibilities.

Stuff I am Reviewing…

Nature Box – This is another one of those monthly box deals and it is all about healthy snacks. We enjoyed our box and would have enjoyed it much more prior to going paleo since a couple of snacks were grain based. The dried cherries were phenomenal though, yum! My husband also really liked the dried veggie crisps and my kids did enjoy some non paleo snacking for a time. My kiddos never had a fig newton before trying the ones in this box, LOL. That kind of blew me away.

This concept is really awesome if you have a hard time sticking to your guns when it comes to healthy snacks. I don’t think they are organic but they are pretty natural and without artificial sweeteners, HFCS, food dyes, and other nasty stuff. The promo code HEALTHY may be used for 25% off your first month of subscription, if you care to give them a try.

Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector – We got this shortly before Earth Day and I gave it a try. I didn’t realize at the time that it relies on bio plastic baggies to collect the kitchen scraps and I am not a fan of that but it it is still a good kitchen option for those who are not composting. It sits on your counter and you just drop the scraps in as you collect them. Every 3 to 4 days you are supposed to remove them but we typically went longer than that. There was no smell, which is a bonus, but it did attract fruit flies. I will be donating or freecycling mine as I just don’t like having to use plastic bags.

A Hadaki Cosmopolitan Tote bag – They consider it an eco-friendly option because their products are AZO free, contain no Phthalates / DEHP or DBP. I think we differ somewhat in our definition of eco friendly but I do not mind plastic based tote bags so much because they are durable and reusable. This particular bag is quite awesome in size and I can see myself taking it to the farmer’s market, the local pool, and to BlogHer12 in New York City (only 3 months away!) to carry all my goodies.

Astroglide Natural – Got some of this last week. I am not going to go into how I personally like it since that’s none of your business. :) I do however like that so many of the companies that make these personal lubricants are removing the toxic ingredients! Astroglide has no glycerin, fragrance, parabens, or alcohol. I also ran the ingredients list through the Skin Deep database and all scored a 1 or 2. Pretty good.

Books I am Reading…

The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year was one of my recent reads. I am not expecting nor will I ever be again, or that’s the plan at least, but I still enjoyed reading this book. I think it would have been much more beneficial to read a book like this when I was newly pregnant instead of the standard What to Expect books. It challenges many of the conventional ideas on birthing and baby care and it is so refreshing! It really takes a look all aspects of bringing a life into this world and caring it, and re-frames normal. I liked that it strongly advocates for attachment parenting and using your intuition as a guide, keeping birth interventions to a minimum, breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, and elimination communication among many other things. The tone was also very upbeat and encouraging, not scary. A+

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think – Just finishing this book. It basically addresses the fact that we all have 168 hours a week to work with and that most of are not actually crunched for time we are just not using that 168 hours wisely and in ways that make sense for our dreams and goals. If we make sure to fill those hours only with things that deserve to be there, we build the lives we want. I really enjoyed this book.

Fifty Shades of Grey – Had to read it after all the media buzz and I was kind of surprised to find that I was not the least bit shocked by this book. I adored it actually and ordered the next two pronto. The author has been quoted as saying it is like the grown up version of Twilight (but with BDSM instead of vampires?) and I agree.

Other Link Worthy Stuff…

Love this Kickstarter Project for an iPad Sustainability story.

 

Hoping to make and eat soon… these Raw Lemon Pie Bars and these grain free Cake Batter Balls.

This Climate Change Carnival at Big Green Purse has many awesome links including one of my own articles. Check it out when you get the chance.

BlogHer Green also featured my stinky towels post.

Enjoy your weekend!!

Friday, May 11th, 2012

3 Comments

23
Apr

Skype Earth Day Panel with Good Girl Gone Green

by Tiffany in Environment

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

1 Comment

23
Apr

All the Money In the World Book Review

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

Over the weekend I did very little to celebrate Earth Day. I planned on doing some gardening but alas it was cold and rainy here in Ohio. I ultimately ended up spending the weekend doing laundry, playing Plants vs Zombies in short spurts, and reading library books while in the comfort of my favorite recliner. I also enjoyed hearty crockpot meals. It was a good weekend.

One of the books I read was All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending. I have read tons of books about personal finance and frugality but I feel as though this book had a lot to offer those who (like me) are sick of the same old regurgitated advice over and over again. I think it also managed to challenge my thinking about money in many ways. You see I am a big David Bach fan. He wrote The Automatic Millionaire among many other books and essentially he talks about giving up those small things that add up (like Lattes) in order to save more over the long term and also making your savings automatic so that you never see much of your money, let alone spend it. After reading his book late last year and putting it into practice I managed to sock away I nice chunk of change. My husband’s 401K went from 2% contributions to 12%, a nice sum also started going from his check into our HSA account and my personal IRA. Amazingly we did not miss the money! I also managed to build up a nice emergency fund and contribute to my IRA from my own income. Woot!

Part of my strategy was to give up those small luxuries and divert that cash to savings. I don’t drink lattes though; my “latte” was my Greek yogurt habit and my love of going to the movies. I gave those up and only ended up feeling deprived and grumpy. Then our savings started to dwindle as we approached the cold weather months. Expenses go up for us that time of year and my husband’s work hours get cut due to lack of seasonal business. That time of year it is typical for him to have weeks at a time off and unpaid. When we came out on the other side of that drought I decided that if that daily yogurt and weekly movie made me happy then I should have them. Most of our money was being saved before we ever touched it and from me taking on extra work projects. That $50 a month spent on stuff I love was not a hardship on us. So I decided to put them back in the budget even if they did represent my “latte factor”.

In All the Money in the World the author, Laura Vanderkam, takes on the notion that money CAN buy happiness and she also disagrees with the idea of giving up those small luxuries that make us happy in daily life. She also thinks that by simply making different choices we can have more of those small luxuries. One of the best examples of this idea in her book is that of the $5300 or so spent on diamond engagement rings on average. She gives several examples of how that money could be spent on things that say “I Love You” and will bring happiness to the couple in daily life… such as date nights every Friday, bouquets of flowers once a month for years, etc. I absolutely loved her ideas on how we can make different choices with our money and that those small choices can bring us lots of happier moments in life. Another idea of hers that I loved was the concept of creating a best weekend ever on occasion and giving yourself $200 to execute it. I planned mine out in my head…

Friday night – Sushi bar, a movie, a margarita (with hubby)
Saturday – One of those local food tours I have been dying to try, Jeni’s Ice Cream, a museum (alone)
Sunday – The zoo or botanical gardens with the kids and steaks on the grill for dinner

I love this idea because it would be just as good as a mini vacation or getaway and yet the cost would be so much less. I know we have a hard time saving for the grand vacations we want and ultimately they would probably be as stressful as they are fun but a grand weekend I could do, easily. We can also do grand weekends that revolve around kiddie stuff.

Okay, so how else do you raise money for these small luxuries? In general most financial books advise you to give them up in pursuit of something bigger, like that Disney vacation or a fully funded IRA. This book doesn’t encourage you to raid your retirement fund or defund it. Rather it encourages you to make more money in creative ways. While some might feel that this is too simplistic, this is actually the route I instinctively took when I decided I wanted a bigger savings and bigger retirement account. When I want more, I work more. I do not decide to eat crap food that there are coupons for, cancel my Netflix, or do without my daily yogurt so I can save money. That ends up being pennies in comparison to taking on a few extra projects and bringing in lump sums of cash.

This past month I decided I wanted to pull the trigger and buy the iPad3 I have been wanting. Instead of seeing what money I could free up or save I went with the option of making that money over and above what I usually make. Doing it that way makes me feel better about spending that kind of money ($600) on myself. I ended up doing it actually with an ample amount to spare but made the colossal mistake of telling my husband I had my iPad money. Suddenly I found myself in an argument for why that money would be better spent by tacking it on to his overtime pay and buying a new-used vehicle instead. I will admit that the argument has merit but I still feel deflated about the iPad. :( I have my doubts that my iPad fund will get paid back as he says. Yet if I had gotten that iPad I would be energized and feel like taking on more work to fund the next thing we wanted…I see so much logic in the reasoning found in this book.

I also liked the advice to think about what you do with a $50,000 windfall or what you would change if you had unlimited money. Personally I would buy a hybrid vehicle, get a 3 bedroom house but stay under 1200ish square feet, hire a house cleaner, and arrange to have sitters more often so I can do date night every two weeks. I would also increase my food budget so we could get the cleanest, greenest, organic, and all around most nourishing food we possibly could. That is about it for my wants and I don’t even need to be rich to have all that. Okay, okay I would also like to take a year or two to travel around Europe and Asia.

If you are looking for better ways to use what you have and you like having your ideas about money challenged, this is a good book to read.

So, what do you think? When you need or want more money do you find all the ways you can scrimp and save or do you go looking for “new” money?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

3 Comments

17
Apr

Earth Day Conscious Box

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Okay, it has been a couple months since I reviewed the Conscious Box. Sadly, I was not in love with their Valentines Box and it prevented me from purchasing the following month. Don’t get me wrong, the non-toxic, earth friendly romance “enhancement” products were awesome. I have been … enjoying them.

But all of the edible products in it were inedible for my family. The oats we can’t eat because we are grain free. I can forgive that because they had NutCase Crunch in one of their earlier boxes and I love that stuff. That’s cool. But two products had soy in it and I am not down with that, at all. I don’t think any food touting itself as healthy should have soy. I was disappointed.

The April “Earth Day” box has made me swoon again though. I love getting to try all the goodies!

First up is Oogie’s Original Kettle Corn – Goodness gracious this stuff is good! Yes I know I am paleo and shouldn’t have it but screw that. If you send me Kettle Corn I am going to eat it! I hail from Marion, Ohio, home of The Popcorn Festival. I simply must eat Kettle Corn on occasion. This is non GMO corn BTW that scores them some bonus points.

SeedBallz – Another product to absolutely adore. The package came with 3 seed bombs or balls with wildflower or herb seeds in them. They are hand rolled in the US by adults with developmental disabilities. You just stick them 1/3 in the ground in full sun and keep them watered until they bloom. Love! Can’t wait to try them and will do a follow up on what grows.

GLOB Berry Blue Paint – We have been using these plant based paints for years and love them. We can always use more, always.

Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner – Oh Parsley Plus, where have you been all my life??? I love the fresh earthy smell of this cleaner and I love it’s cleaning ability too. I will definitely buy more of this.

Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid – So far so good. I usually use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint but this was a nice change of pace. I am thinking I am happy with what I have though.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive – I will be reviewing some Juice Beauty stuff in depth soon but I like this little product. I am not usually much for “beauty” stuff but I will hit the big 3-5 this summer so I have been thinking about aging more. Nuff said I think.

Sparklehearts Rainbow Soft Conditioner - Great ingredients plus no petroleum, parabens, or phthalates. This also worked well on my daughter’s long hair.

ColourFusion Lip Glaze from Natural Joy Beauty – This came in a teeny tiny sample box but after applying it once I immediately decided this was good stuff. First off I noticed how subdued and non clownish the color was. I have a serious lipstick aversion because I think I look ridiculous in it but I did not mind this glaze at all. Secondly I noticed that it doesn’t have that horrible lipstick taste or smell. Score! The whole store is full of natural cosmetics and I think I need to stock up before BlogHer.

Himalayan Crystal Salt – Have been a big fan of this stuff for years though we never purchased it from here.

Raw Chocolate from Cloud 9 Raw Chocolate – Good stuff, but not my fave. Any Conscious Box with chocolate gets gold stars though.

Banana Bar with Milk Chocolate – More chocolate! I was not a fan of this because of the banana. My bananas have to be green and barely sweet, unless they are disguised in a smoothie. I gave this to my 11 year son and he loved it.

Climb On Intensive Skin Repair – This is a healing salve or balm so we will definitely get to use it around here. Last week I bloodied my knuckles all up flipping tractor tires at my CrossFit box. Could have used it then for sure!

Lavender Bare Body Organic Soap – Smells divine and lathers well. I just wish the sample size were bigger. Those folks are such a tease!

GenerationMe laundry detergent – I haven’t tried this yet but I love that there are so many smaller companies representing in this box this month.

Lastly the box had a bunch of coupons and this Worry Doll from My Groovy Planet which looks to be monthly box deal where you get monthly delivery of theme-based, fun, educational surprise packages—or kits, for your child to learn and get excited about anything and everything fair trade, recycling, conservation, volunteering and the planet. We have some worry dolls already so this one will have friends. For those who do not know, they are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. The dolls supposedly carry the worries for you. ;)

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

3 Comments