Thursday, June 23, 2011

Veggie Corn Chowder Recipe


Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

1 T Olive Oil

3 T Chopped Yellow Onion

2 Cloves Garlic, chopped

3/4 C Chopped Leek

1 C Diced Potato

10 Ounces Frozen Corn

1 T Seafood Seasoning

2 T fresh Parsley, minced

1 1/2 C water (can use veggie or chicken broth if you prefer)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk (can use cream to make it more savory)

2 T Parsley, minced

Directions:

Saute onion, garlic, and leeks in olive oil until tender. Add water, potatoes, corn, seafood seasoning, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. When done remove half of the mixture and blend until creamy and add back to the pot. Stir in a 1/2 cup milk and garnish with fresh parsley.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Eco-Friendly Jewelry - Kyler Designs


An elegant and eco-friendly stainless steel design. Photo: Kyler by Joy O


I've been a huge fan of San Francisco-based jewelry designer Joy Opfer since being introduced to her line a couple of years ago. My sister and I even trade Joy O Designs presents on every birthday!


Joy has always been eco-conscious, so it was a natural (and thrilling for green gals like me!) next step for her to move into fully sustainable, eco-friendly designs. Her line has evolved into Kyler by Joy O, and follows the highest standards for reducing waste, energy use, and increasing reusability of materials.


Oh, and it's also still super cute, and a ton of celebrities, like Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Eva Longoria are fans!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Green Commuting: Trendy Bicycle Design

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Eco Factor: Concept bicycle with integrated safety features.

It’s difficult to get down to our brains how important commuting green is, unless we pronounce it the need of the future. Okay, if we have understood, then bikes would surely be up there as the best alternative for short distance travels. In order to get us all to make that drastic “shift” for the environment’s cause, designer James Ma has conceptualized the Shift bike.


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The design aims to change the way we ride bikes and includes electrical gauges and LED lighting to make sure that those dark rides are safe. In addition, the bike also includes an iPod docking unit and a self-locking mechanism.

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Via: James Ma Design

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yann Arthus-Bertrand: Breath taking Nature Photography



Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a French photographer and environmentalist who has a tendency toward stunning bird’s eye view photography. Revealing Earth from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand reveals wonderful symmetry and color. The scenes captured by his camera are fresh because of their unusual angles.

(Images via psfk, atrauger, xarj, smashboxstudios)

Yann Arthus-Bertrand chooses his subjects well, and even his plainest landscape photos are shockingly interesting and colorful. Man-made terrain full of blooming flowers and crops cut into sections create a wonderful template for Yann’s camera.



(Images via animalpicturesarchive, outtheway, smashboxstudios, justpaste, doobybrain)

In addition to being a photographer and journalist, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is an environmentalist. He reveals his love of nature through the glimpses he catches in his work. The Tail fin of a majestic whale is the subject of one photograph, while animal masses and interesting terrain also seem to catch his eye.



(Images via wickp, justpaste, bideford, justpaste, utata, gallery-wallpaper)

Some of Yann Arthus-Bertrand most breathtaking shots are of man-made structures, intricate and beautiful in their symmetry. The cookie cutter buildings featured in many photos are a bit depressing when compared to the sprawling vistas displayed in some of his shots.



(Images via thegoldbrick, mojito, gallery-wallpaper, futura-sciences)

Gorgeous colors and awe inspiring natural views are Yann Arthus-Bertrand forte, as illustrated with these examples. The detail of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s photography is clear to the last detail.



(Images via arts-wallpapers, bangforchanges, twistedsifter)

Odd and interesting material make Yann’s work endlessly varied and interesting. A skilled photographer with a true eye for natural beauty, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is truly an artist.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eco Friendly & Super Cute Dollhouses

One of the latest trends in greener, more planet friendly toys is the surge of sustainable dollhouses on the market.

One reason for this, I think, is because wood dollhouses already have a HUGE advantage over cheapy plastic ones… they are more attractive and more like a real home.

It is rare that I see a plastic dollhouse that actually catches my eye these days and I can’t say that for all plastic toys in general.

But when it comes to doll houses and play kitchens… wood is far more attractive and far more eco friendly as a bonus. The modern day versions of eco friendly dollhouses are so darn cute it makes me want to play with them. Either that or hand one over to an architect and tell them to duplicate in a life size version.

Here are some my favorites that I have highlighted. One or two of these might still be in the future of my little girl (almost 7 now) but if not I doubt I will quit bookmarking them because they are so darn cute!


My FAVE has got to be the Bamboo Sunshine Dollhouse from HaPe International which makes those bamboo race cars I love so much. It is made of sustainable bamboo obviously, which is a grass that grows in 3 years, much faster than trees. It has a polished look that I love and this cute house is just adorable. It is rather pricey and all the furnishings come separately but this is more of an investment piece, something you will take care of.

It can last for several generations if taken care of and it will be just as timeless tomorrow as it is today. I love the sleek design and lines, the WORKING solar panel, the real LED lights, the partitions, the winding staircase, and all the rooms.

You can pack a lot of fun in this little house. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gorgeous sets that can be bought for this including this greenhouse that can be used to grow REAL plants and herbs.

Love this dollhouse. I wish it weren’t so spendy but this really is the Cadillac of eco dollhouses.


Another cute one is the Wonderworld Eco-Friendly Eco House. This one would be especially attractive to boys with the blue and green color scheme. What I like about it is that it is green – aka environmentally friendly rubber wood, non-toxic paints, dyes and lacquers and formaldehyde free glue – but also “pretend green” with solar panels, recycle bin, rain water collection system, and a wind turbine. The packaging is also made from 70% recycled materials.


It is a two story wooden playhouse that includes kitchen set, bedroom set, three wooden dolls and bathroom set as long as all the adorable features I mentioned above. The Eco range is part of Wonderworld’s new collection of products to educate children to the importance of recycling, saving energy and being friendly to our environment. The Eco House Wooden doll house comes complete with room settings and family. Themes include recycling, planting trees, solar panels, scooter and collecting rain water. I give it an A+.

After two rather pricey dollhouses this Krooom carboard dollhouse might be a breath of fresh air.


Fully foldable and completely flat in its package, no tools assembly. – Waterproof coating. Meets standards of moisture-resistance. – All graphics are applied with the highest quality printing. – Made of reinforced cardboard recycleable material. – Very strong and sturdy. – Environmental friendly. Free from hazardous substances. Corrugated board withstands top and side pressure, is crush resistant and has a high burst strength. It is impact, drop and vibration-resistant, yet light in weight. This would be an excellent dollhouse for a younger kiddo who might not take care of one of the nicer ones and it is an attractive budget option too.

Plan Toys is another fave brand of mine for kidlet toys and I like their Green Dollhouse with Furniture. Wonderful for older kids… say 6 and up. Like the other above it is green on two counts. It is made from nontoxic natural materials such as organic rubberwood AND it has an energy efficient design that includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, and an electric inverter for generating electricity, a rain barrel for collecting rain. There is also a biofacade, which uses the natural cycle of plant growth to provide shading, and a blind that can adjust to the amount of sunlight and air circulation. Recycling bins are also included with the house. This dollhouse also comes with furniture for five rooms: Living room, kitchen, bathroom, children’s bedroom and master bedroom. This beautiful dollhouse and furniture are crafted from recycled, natural rubber wood, dyed with vegetable and soy dyes, and assembled in an earth-friendly process. The Plan Toys green dollhouse for younger kiddos (2-5) is here.


A rather atypical dollhouse would be this exclusive from Magic Cabin. It is a mushroom house for dolls or gnomes. The mushroom-shaped abode is perchance the most charming home for gnomes ever seen. The sturdy wooden two-story dollhouse comes with lots of perfectly sized accessories: table, two chairs, two beds, red-checked bedding and pillows, two evergreen trees and eleven animals. The posable dolls are handmade in Brazil with soft wool hair and stuffing and cotton clothes. I just love all the little forest animals!


Okay I was done but then I remembered another unique dollhouse I featured a few weeks back.. the Enchantmints Fairy Forest Lodge. It is a treehouse for dolls and is quite adorable if I do say so myself. I tried to score one of these for Christmas when Magic Cabin had these for half off! But alas they went in minutes and I wasn’t so lucky. My daughter loves fairies though so this may still be in the cards for us.


Do your little ones have an new eco friendly dollhouse or do you prefer second hand ones?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buy Vegan Shoes: Brands Showcase



You don’t have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to be concerned about the ethics of wearing animals.

While many feel comfortable eating animals they may feel a bit less inclined to want to wear them around on their feet or on their handbag… especially when there are alternatives.

The animal industry has an abysmal record when it comes to cruelty. And since the animals can’t speak out about the matter ethical vegans have taken the lead in speaking for them.
It is really thanks to their outspoken voices that we have so many cruelty-free options on the market today. I am not vegan and have no desire to be so but I do appreciate the availability of animal free shoes and clothing.

Choosing vegan does not mean you have to sacrifice style and comfort. As a matter of fact, vegan shoes are out there, in the same style as the latest trend in leather fashion. Dozens of vegan shoe brands are now sprouting all over, catering to the needs of those who do not want to wear shoes with faces.

They are made of plant-based materials like hemp, and some synthetic fibers. Most of the time, these shoes also consist of recycled materials such as used rubber tires, making them not only animal-friendly but earth-friendly as well. They come in different styles, too; thus making any pair of feet fashionable.

Since vegan shoes are often made of biodegradable materials and not animal-based products, wearing vegan shoes is one way to minimize our environmental footprint. What’s more, vegan footwear is really durable and longer lasting compared to its non-vegan counterparts. To give you some idea what brands of shoes hold vegan choices, here is a list.





Converse – it has a wide array of vegan shoes that are mainly made of deconstructed hemp. Converse vegan shoes are tagged with a marked hemp on he heel for the world to know that they are cruelty-free shoes.




Jambu – A reviewed a pair of these a couple weeks ago. Their water diva vegan shoes are comfortable, stylish, and cruelty free. They also use some recycled materials.




Merrell – is known for its sports and hiking shoes and I have been eyeballing these for quite awhile. If only they made their barefoot shoes (the glove) vegan because those are the ones I want. Merrell does offer some vegan shoes though that are ideal for hiking and any form of exercise. Its vegan footwear also features a pumping system that keeps water out. I love their Siren Sports Thong and their Encore Breeze clogs.




New Balance – offers vegan shoes especially made for runners. These shoes are made with New Balance’s trademark sole-support system and also equipped with shock-absorption technology.




Okabashi Flip-Flops – Their awesome shoes (I have a pair) are made of recycled materials and no animal products.




LifeStride – offers a wide range of 100% animal-free shoes for women. Fashionable choices include high-heels, flats, sandals and boots.

The price tag can seem high on vegan shoes but they really last. If you have resolved to try and wear less animal made clothing then these vegan shoes will get you off to a great start.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Organic Skincare: Green Beauty Recipes



No doubt you are catching on to the fact that the “beauty industry” is actually code for “toxic crap you don’t need”. Never in a million years would you think women would willingly line up to slather noxious chemicals all over their face but guess what? They do! But we can green up our beauty routines and make them more natural and safe too. Here are some tips for greening up your beauty regime.

1. Read the ingredients. Look closely at the ingredients in your cleanser, shampoo, hair gel, make-up, and so forth. Look them up in the cosmetics database and read first hand about what you are actually putting on your skin. If you find a lot of suspicious chemical names, look for alternatives. All sorts of toxic substances have been identified in conventional makeup and other beauty aids but there are companies making alternative products. The more people that purchase better products the louder our collective voice becomes against toxics.

2. Keep it simple. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with just lemon juice, for example. You don’t need an abundance of elaborate, complicated beauty aids.

3. Use natural products, such as lemons, honey, oatmeal, avocado, and yogurt on your hair or skin. The beauty tricks of long ago still work! For more info on that check out Beauty Secrets of the Bible. Its not a religious book is just gives us insight into Biblical women and what they used for beauty. They were just as concerned about it as modern women can be.

4. Use baking soda instead of shampoo. It makes a wonderful cleanser for your hair. Mix about a teaspoon of baking soda per cup of warm water, and pour over your head while in the shower. Work it in to your scalp and rinse.

5. Use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) solution as a rinse following the baking soda wash. Mix a tablespoon of ACV into 2 cups of warm water and pour over your head and hair. Rinse with as cool a water temperature as you can handle.

6. Look for natural make-up. Many top cosmetic manufacturers specialize in more natural formulations. Avoid make-up that has aluminum, phthalates, formaldehyde, fragrance, and parabens.

7. Combine cooked oatmeal with mashed bananas and spread on damp hair to treat dry scalp and dandruff.

8. Cut out beauty products with petroleum-based ingredients. Some ingredients to look for include parraffin, Propylene Glycol, and Isopropyl Alcohol.

9. Look for the “not tested on animals” label to assure you are not supporting the harmful and cruel practice of animal cosmetic testing. Human beauty is NOT worth animal suffering.

10. Use reusable products rather than disposable ones in your beauty routine. Examples of common disposable beauty items are: razors, pre-packaged, single-use hair treatments, and cotton balls.

The two BEST books on this subject happen to be written by the same person, Julie Gabriel. The first is the Green Beauty Guide. That link takes you to my review. The second is fairly new, Green Beauty Recipes, and I have LOVED puring over the recipes.

Cloth Fabric: Eco friendly fabric prints for homewares

Cloth Fabric, Sydney, incorporates original fabric prints (on materials such as hemp, linen, organic cotton, and jute) with recycled second hand furniture to produce Australian themed homewares that are both limited run and locally hand made.

Julie Paterson designs all fabrics in her studio in Surry Hills, then hands the designs onto local crafts-people to finish the printing process. All fabrics are available to purchase via stockists Australia wide, or you can visit their studio to have your own peice of bespoke furniture made especially.