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Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

It’s that time of year again: teacher’s Christmas gifts! I’m always hunting around for good ideas that are unique, fun and Dalai-like. Here is a great assortment of inexpensive gifts any teacher would love to get!


1. DYI Cookies in a Jar




I have done this super easy DYI project several times: just put your favorite easy recipe, like these Oatmeal Toffee Cookies from Cooking Light, in a 24oz mason jar. Add a bow and the directions (the wet ingredients, oven temp and cooking time) and your teacher has a health(ier!) indulgence when they have eaten all the other Christmas goodies.


2. Eco Friendly Lunch Box



There are many wonderful eco-friendly lunch boxes, like this stainless steel bento box from www.ecolunchboxes.com. Your kid’s teacher can bring their own healthy lunch to school in a safe BPA-free container and no need for sandwich bags!


3. Chemical-Free Hand Sanitizer



Keep your teacher healthy with Clean Well’s patented hand sanitizer formula that kills germs without hurting cuts and drying out the skin like traditional chemical sanitizers do. And, you both can have a laugh at the “dirty kid” reference…especially if they are wiping snotty noses all day.


4. DYI Microwavable Hand Warmers



If you live in colder climates, your teacher will appreciate these hand warmers – especially when they are outside supervising recess. No pattern needed, just fill your shape with things like rice, dry beans, flax seed, buckwheat hulls and/or herbs and essential oils like lavender, cloves, peppermint oil. Check out TipNut for more details.


5. BPA-free Water Bottles













These cute eco-friendly water containers will be a hit. The Copco 24 oz insulated, “stir and sip” cup comes in many colors and make taking sips throughout the day easy. You can find them at Amazon, Target, Walmart, K-Mart, and Bed Bath and Beyond, just to name a few.


I love these Lifefactory glass water bottles wrapped in a cool silicone sleeve for protection. No worries about leaching plastic and the super wide mouth makes it easy to fill. Drugstore.com has a buy one, get the second 1/2 off and free shipping.


6. Natural lotion from Indigo Wild



My go-to lotion because I love the convenient pump. Frankincense and Myrrh is my FAVORITE smell. All of Indigo Wild products are natural and chemical-free, so your teacher can keep their winter hands soft without any of the bad stuff.


7. Essential Oils



Did you know certain essential oils like lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, rose and mandarin help calm the nervous system by actually changing the brain waves?


Your teacher can use Aura Cacia’s oils as “perfume” on the body or package it with Aura Cacia’s car diffuser. They can even use it in the classroom with an inexpensive vaporizer and watch the kids moods shift!


What is the Dalai Family giving this year? I couldn’t decide, so each teacher is getting a little something different: cookies in a jar, Capco tumblers, LifeFactory water bottles, and a Cleanwell sanitizer basket of goodies.


Some of my friends might be getting the same thing too…if I don’t keep them for myself!


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Here is an awesome DIY project for you this holiday season: make your own wreath from recycled materials!


If Dalai can do it, anyone can.


(Can you believe it is December ALREADY?)



My good friend and artist, Tess Hawes, and I were asked to create a Christmas decoration benefitting KVC, a nonprofit corporation providing social services to children and families.


Designers from across the city brought their unique creations…but there was only one GREEN decoration. (Ours, silly)



For weeks we collected aluminum cans, cut off the tops and bottoms, and made “leaves” from the sheets of aluminum.


Then, we attached over 100 leaves onto a used bicycle tire rim with the help of a hot glue gun.


Spray painted bottle caps became holly berries, attached bow, and


Voilà! A perfect DIY wreath that is GREEN and beautiful.



The auction? Oh, it broke a fundraising record. Kama Moseley, the Gala Chair, rocked it. Congratulations.


Our cute wreath made us proud, going for quite a bit over what we expected.


And, equally important, the event was a blast. A night out with girlfriends never disappoints.



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I know, this isn’t a fashion blog.


I don’t even like to shop for clothes. My favorite invention is the internet because it allows me to try things on in the privacy of my messy closet.  I have skinny mirrors.



What I do love, however, are

  1. smart people that
  2. create something awesome
  3. following their dreams and
  4. their success multiplies into helping others



Chooze shoes are made from all vegan materials (cool, even though I do wear leather and don’t feel bad about it) and 100% of the company’s profits go to anti-poverty programs.


Specifically, 100% go to WOMEN (because we rock, work hard, and raise children) in the form of business loans. When the loans are paid back, the money goes right back in the system, helping other women.



That would be a good enough reason to by an ill-fitting, unfortunate looking pair of kids shoes. But, Chooze has the cutest darn patterns and shapes to chooze from.


Pissy Missy picked purple. There are a couple other patterns on-line I’m aching to buy.



Notice anything unique about these shoes?


The left and the right shoe never match. Some patterns may have circles on one side and flowers on another. Or the same pattern in different colors.


That is so stinking cute.



I want to make something that is amazing and cute that helps the world.


Thinking….


Still thinking…


I guess I’ll just have to buy another pair until it comes to me.



The boxes are from recycled materials and are made for kids to color in.


Um, are these people brilliant?


Mia thinks so. I could hardly keep her out of the pictures.



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I briefly touched on my awesome Karma Club last week. For those of you who are a little late to dinner, I organize (with the help of my amazing friends/groupees), gatherings where interesting practitioners come to teach and inspire us. We are in our third year and so far have had a wide range of visitors:



Last week, we had founder of Earnest Farmacy, Pam Earnest, come and talk to us about food, essential oils, and natural face products.


I have been using a few of Pam’s face products for some time now.  Her line, Apothecary, makes some of the most scrumptious face and body lotions.  They are all natural and extremely affordable.  My favorites are Face it! Moisturizing Face Cream and Goatsilk Body Cream.


On this special night, Earnest Farmacy brought the store to us!







After smelling dozens of essential oils, eating homemade popcorn with pink himalayan salt, and getting foot massages with Young Living pharmaceutical grade oils, we were ready to personalize our body creams. With the help of Pam and her books, we blended our own fragrance of essential oils and added them to her Goatsilk Body Cream.  I selected a vanilla top note, sandalwood middle note and lemon base note.  It smells amazing!!! Here are some of my girls working on their creams…



Here is the heart and brains behind Earnest Farmacy, Pam, making us green smoothies…




After getting an amazing foot massage, The Dalai got some lessons on pressure points.




My kids are gong to love this! Give them a foot massage with calming essential oils – they may actually sit and chill for a minute…when they aren’t laughing hysterically.




It was another amazing night with inspiring people! I’m so lucky to be surrounded by fun, open-minded friends that will explore just about anything I throw at them 🙂

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Finally, the study I have been waiting for: you CAN be too clean for your own good.


(This one is for you, Lotte, my darling college roommate who wouldn’t use my brush or sit on our toilet.  I can only imagine your quad strength after all of these years.)


Good grief, then my children should be safe all winter long. I didn’t have any stock photos of my kids dirty hands, but I didn’t need to…here are Dalai Daniel’s hands from this morning….





A recent study out of University of Michigan looked at levels of triclosan and Bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine of patients. Triclosan is found in most antibacterial soaps and have been highly criticized for many reasons (one being its fast increasing levels in our water supply).  BPA is foundin most plastics.  Both BPA and triclosan are endocrine disruptors, which I have talked about here and here.


The study suggests that people who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may suffer more allergies.  Higher levels of Bisphenol A among adults may negatively influence the immune system.


It is no surprise to me that chemicals exposure and health problems are correlated. You are going to be exposed to chemicals when you wash our hands in public places, so give your body a break and use natural soap at home.  Studies have shown that the antibacterial soaps are no more effective.


As for the BPA, look for BPA-free markings on any plastic that will contain food, don’t heat your food in plastic containers, and be wary of plastic lined cans – most have BPA unless advertised otherwise!


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Do you have any idea how much time I spend washing fruit?  I have four kids, so it is a bit ridiculous how much we go through.  My standard routine is wash EVERYTHING before I put it in the refrigerator so that it is ready to go.  It is so boring I enter a trance-like state,and when I snap out of it, hours have passed.


I typically use Dr. Bronners or another veggie wash like FIT or VEGGIE WASH.  If they are things like berries, I let them soak in a bowl of the wash and rinse well.  If they are things like apples, peaches, and pears I coat them and scrub them with a vegetable brush.


Why?  Because I don’t have good access to organic produce where I live.  I would have to drive 30 minutes to pick up a $36, 5 oz package of blueberries.


So, I had convinced myself that I was eliminating MOST pesticide residue by my stellar, labor intensive washing.  I was so proud, I wanted to test my methods by sending the pre and post washed produce to a lab to have it analyzed.


I researched labs and found a couple that would do this type of testing.  I decided to call E.M.A. (Environmental Micro Analysis) because they specialized in pesticide residue testing.


And here is where my depression begins…


I spoke to the nicest, most informative and knowledgeable man who is in charge of the testing and told him what I was looking for.  He explained to me that they have set up a multitude of tests, on behalf of various companies, to test this very thing using their products.  He was not at liberty to tell me the companies or washing products, but did tell me not to waste my time.  No matter the wash, technique, or type of produce, the findings where all the same:  there is very little difference in pesticide detection between the washed and unwashed produce.


{Knife in heart}


Even when they testing hard skinned produce like apples and scrubbed the sh** out of it with a surfactant.  No dice.  Almost no difference.


He explained that most pesticides penetrated the otter layer of skin, making it virtually impossible to wash off.


But, alas, we should continue to wash our produce well, he says.  Most acute illnesses, like e coli, can be eliminated by a good bathing.


While I’m not one to worry and agonize over getting pesticide-induced cancer or my boys growing breasts from the endocrine disruptors, I am one to get pissed that I wasted so much frickin’ time scrubbing my damn vegetables.


So, I guess I’ll be driving to the next state (literally) to pick up my next container of 5 organic strawberries.


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This is one of the best videos I have seen that looks into the effects of chemicals that are in our everyday lives.  Thank you, Natural Papa, for turning me onto it.


A couple of things to take note of when watching it: first, that some of the chemicals found in the test subject’s blood HAVE BEEN BANNED for 30 years, and second, chemical concentration levels that are supposedly too low to matter are comparable to levels in some pharmaceutical drugs that can have profound effects on us. It makes me wonder what I have in my own blood!



Seeing as how I have a technical learning disability, I cannot figure out how to link these damn videos, so you’ll have to watch them in succession.  Seriously, I have spent an hour googling and reading and I don’t even know what java script is….



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