If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know that I kindaloveshoes. Back in my pre-children days I was all about Doc Martens and I had a Pepto Bismol pink pair and a white pair with lace and glitter. For many years after having kids I was all about easy flip-flops and sandals. These days I still have lots of love for flip-flops but I would also add to that just about any minimalist athletic shoe and barefoot shoes. After wearing winter boots for many months you just have to break out and wear some pretty shoes come spring and summer right?
Above is my line-up for the warm weather months. As you can see, I like color!
First pair up is Jambu’s Capetown sandals in olive. I love Jambu and usually review a pair every season. They are almost always earth friendly and/or vegan. These shoes are leather but they do have a recycled rubber sole and toe cap.
They are a flip-flop style sandal in a yummy color that is perfect for spring and summer. The leather straps crisscross with floral print satin straps so I think they are dressy enough to wear with nice summer dresses. As can be expected with all Jambu shoes they are high quality and very lovely. These will be my go-to shoes when I need dressier sandals.
Next up is another old favorite… Okabashi! These flip flops are made from recycled materials and they are completely recyclable after they are spent, if you return them to the Okabashi factory in Georgia. Their facility is virtually zero waste.. next to no scrap, and last year they used 100,000 pounds of scrap material in their shoes.
These are quite simply some of the highest quality flip-flops I have ever come across and the fact that they are eco friendly is just the icing on top of the cake. They are also very affordable. No $50 flip-flops here. The prices are right around $15-$18.
Okay, next up is a barefoot or minimalist shoe called the Vivobarefoot. This shoe is good for any outdoor activity and you can wear it in the water. I plant to wade in creeks and waterways as we hike and explore this summer. These will also be excellent shoes to wear to the waterpark.
The shoes are vegan friendly with a plastic outer shell. The inside is really just a cloth sock that can be worn or removed depending on the activity. For dry hiking you might want to wear the socks. If you plan to wade in the water you may want to remove them or you can wear them and toss in the wash later.
Last pair up is a thrift store find. I didn’t actually NEED another pair of flip-flops but Eddie Bauer flip-flops in a groovy orange color were impossible to pass up. Plus I like getting $40-$50 shoes for $2!
What will you be wearing this spring/summer?
Many thanks to Okabashi and Jambu for sending me shoes to review!
A few weeks back Cascadian Farm asked me to participate in an all organic Earth Day feast celebration. My mission was simply to create an Earth Day feast, or rather a feast worthy of Earth Day since I would have to do it earlier in the month, and use organic foods. To facilitate they sent me an Earth Day Celebration Kit with Cascadian Farms products and coupons. So of course I decided to incorporate Cascadian Farm foods wherever I could.
In honor of the warmer weather of late I decided to go with a backyard picnic feast. I dug out my fave yard sale quilt (only $1.00!) that we use for picnics and I made light and fresh foods. That ended up being paleo chicken tacos, homemade salsa, and blueberry coconut milk smoothies. Perfect for a mid day picnic in the back yard. All the fresh fruit and veggies just scream Earth Day.
Pretty much everything was organic and to make it a Cascadian Farm affair we used their Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes in the salsa, frozen sweet corn as a taco topping, and frozen blueberries in the smoothies. It was delicious! We might just do the whole thing over again on Earth Day for reals. ;)
We buy organic most of the time but it is always good to have that reminder that it is better for the planet and for our health. Supporting organic is a crucial step in voting for the world we want. “Like” the Cascadian Farm Facebook page to get more information on their Earth Day celebration. Also many thanks to them for our kit, which came in that nifty canvas basket seen in the pictures.
If you area anything like me you are trying to firm up Earth Day Plans already. How do you spend the day? Do you stay home and conserve fuel and energy? Do you plant a tree or do some gardening? Do you do a community service project? Well, one idea might be to check out the DisneyNature film Chimpanzee which will be released on April 20, just in time for Earth Day festivities.
DisneyNature films are always stellar and I think this will be no exception, just like African Cats and Oceans. My youngest (6) especially would love this. He spends a fair amount of time watching Netflix animal documentaries. The movie is a nature documentary about a young chimpanzee named Oscar who finds himself alone in the African forests until he is adopted by another chimpanzee.The film was co-produced by Disneynature and the Jane Goodall Institute. A portion of the opening week proceeds will go to the latter. Earth Day or the days immediately before would be a great time to see it for that reason alone.
Looks like I have some new games to add to my mammoth post on green board games. Educational Insights was kind enough to send me a trio of their educational, green games for my children and I to play with for Earth Week and beyond. All 3 games are printed with vegetable ink on recycled paper. They have wood and paper pieces, no plastic and they are really rather sparse in gadgets and “stuff” overall. They are very much minimalist games. Another plus is that all three have a nature theme going on.
Number Hunt – The game board is a jungle. The object is move through the jungle using the wooden die to roll numbers. You add the number on the die to the number on your current space, do the math, and move along the path to the finish line. Some spaces have no number. Instead they have a collection of bugs that need to be counted so you can figure out the number value of that space. It is great for preschool age kids (like my little guy) who are working on counting and my 7 year old enjoyed it as well, even though the math was a little to young for her. My kids also like that this game and one of the others uses the same paper “pieces” so they could be the same character for both games. My youngest son was the fox and my daughter was the owl.
Reading Roundup – As the name would suggest this game encourages reading and word recognition. My ten year old son even played with us because the overall theme was fun for a more advanced reader too. Each player gets five cards that lay face up in front of them.
Each card has a word on it and you move through the game board trying to land on spaces that have the matching words. The spaces with words are attached by lassos but you have to move in one direction. It is strategic because you need to plan your moves ahead so that you can hit all your words and turn over the corresponding card. Once all your cards have been turned over you need to follow the lassos back to your home base, each player (up to 4) has their own. It is easy enough for younger kids but the strategy part might need to be learned. Taking your words out quickly, while moving on the board as little as possible, is really the key. Very enjoyable though! I even liked playing this one.
Woodzy Words – This game is much like Pick Up Sticks, everybody remember that classic? Well these sticks are bit more substantial and they have words on them but the principle is the same. When you successfully pick up one of the sticks you read the word aloud and when you are finished you need to make a sentence with all your words. Continue to play until you bump another stick or get stuck on a word. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins. The cool part is that the words are 30 Earth-friendly vocabulary words like habitat, ocean, soil, etc. We really enjoyed playing this one as well.
All 3 games rock but I would LOVE to see advanced versions of the first two… because I do think they are phenomenal for education and learning during play. They get an A+ here.
There are so many “green” books on the market and I have read so many that I am usually doubtful that any new green book will able to capture and hold my interest. Often times I decline to review them when I get emails from publishers because I have no desire to read the same information a dozen different ways… sorry but its true. Which is not to say that they won’t be perfectly good books, they are just for a different audience usually… someone who is new to green living. I am not new to green living and would say I am instead experiencing green fatigue in some ways. I am bombarded with so many green products and so much information that something has to be really special nowadays to catch my eye. This month my email inbox has been flooded daily with hundreds of PR pitches trying to get me to blog about their products or their ideas that I have been ready to curse Earth Day. I kid you not I got a pitch from a corporation that wanted me to label them green simply because they sent a memo to their employees recommending they read green books, like The Lorax, to their kids. WTH?
I got several book requests leading up to Earth Week and a few of them sounded promising. The first two would qualify as books that REALLY impressed me. They took a relatively unexplored green angle and created a captivating book that green newbies AND the more experienced greenies will both find interesting and that is a tough task if you ask me.
The first is GREEN American Style by Anna M. Clark. As the name would suggest this book talks about green living from anAmerican perspective and the religious, societal, and political roadblocks that are before us in making any great green changes. It explores why we are spoiled as a country even if we don’t want to own up to it and why that hinders our ability to think globally. BUT it is not an America bashing book. Quite the opposite is true in fact. It makes and excellent case for why going green is the most patriotic thing we can do and why citizens who love this country SHOULD be on the frontlines of environmental action.
I love political discussion and this book was a very interesting read in that regard. Any party opposed to environmentalism is a party against their own country IMO. Our heath, our wealth, and our national security are all at stake when we trash our environment and the next great thing our country needs to do is become sustainable and independent of foreign energy needs. People of all parties should read this book, I dare them to find fault with the logic.
Also discussed was religion and its role in green living, which up to this point has been sadly lacking. The author shows how the movement is gaining ground among many faiths as they see that dominion over the earth is no excuse for exploitation and abuse. As a a secular reader I found it all very interesting and she mentioned her approval of the Green Bible that I blogged about while back, several times. I just really like the concept. Anyway, it has resources for anyone who wants to try and bring green initiatives to their local church.
I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to read more about common sense green politics as well. I am a liberal on the social issues and more conservative on the fiscal issues and I agreed with pretty much everything in it. I think all political parties would enjoy it.
The second book I wanted to shout out is called Girls Gone Green. I can’t say enough good things about it!! It is all about Green Girl Power! LOL. It is basically a collection of essays written by women and younger girls who have seen a need or a problem and taken action to fix it. This could be a local issue or a global problem, whatever it was, they stepped up to the plate to tackle it. I think the target market for this book is probably young women… tweens through early twenties but I love it.
The book is broken up into sections for The Beauty Entrepreneurs and Fashionistas, The Animal Advocates, The Educators and Artists, The Recyclers, The Growers and Grocers, The Defenders of Air, Land, and Water, and the Environmental Scientists and Green Engineers. Each section has some stellar examples of women who have become champions and activists in this area. Most are just ordinary, every day gals but there are some celebrity stories mixed in too. I was very pleased with the celebs they chose, such as Ellen Page (Juno) with her planting parties and Alicia Silverstone with her animal advocacy work. Hayden Panettiere wrote the forward, and she is a classy young lady who came on to my radar not so much for her work in Heroes but for her role in The Cove and Save the Whales. The Cove is an awesome movie BTW!
If you have a teen or tween girl in your life, or maybe a new HS or college grad, this book would be an awesome and inspiring gift. A+++
Another book I read about the same time is Shift Your Habit. It is a good book but not anything really new among green books. It is basically a big run down of all the ways you make some small change or shift an old habit and save money while going green at the same time. It will definitely appeal to the more frugal minded among us. It has lots of great tips and ideas.
And lastly, I read several books with my kids from the Little Green Books Collection. They are really cute but mostly only really appropriate for my 4 year old. My 9 year old took off at the site of baby books and my 6 year was only mildly interested. The books themselves are made with 100% recycled materials and that is perhaps why they are bit dark and rampant with earth tones but I liked it. We read My First Garden which teaches colors using a gardening theme, What Do You See, a flap book which encourages nature exploration, and Don’t Throw That Away.
The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle also by Little Green Books was enjoyed by my older kids and ignored by my youngest so this one is for older kids generally I think. It is good they have books for many age ranges that encourage green kids.