Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm still here... blogland, that is. We have finally made the move back to Boston, and are getting settled into our new schedules.  For my fellow Bostonians, here is some pertinent information I have gleaned from the City of Boston government website ( that you may or may not already know: if you live in a residential building with 6 or less units, you may request a blue recycling bin by emailing: or by calling: 617-635-4959.  A small blue bin "will be dropped off at your doorstep in about a week, free of charge." 

If, however, you live in a residence with 7 or more units, "the building owner is required by law to provide large wheeled carts that go in a central location for all the building's residents to use."

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Ok, so I don't have any kids yet - but I am a proud new aunt! I met my nephew for the first time over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I am utterly in love with the little guy :) My brother and sister-in-law are very eco-conscious, even when determining which baby products to use. They thought this product might be of some interest to my readers, and I agree!

We all know that disposable diapers take up exorbitant amounts of space in landfills and that cloth diapers require tons of extra washes, but we don't all know about gDiapers (green diapers). These breathable, plastic-free diapers can be flushed, composted, or thrown out (they break down in 50-150 days). GDiapers consist of a washable, cotton outer "pant" and a plastic-free flushable diaper refill. They contain no elemental chlorine, perfumes, plastic, inks, dyes, or latex. If you are interested in purchasing or researching this product, visit:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Neti Pot

It's that time of the year again when bacteria and viruses run rampant - the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, etc. are constant threats (especially when you work with kids like I do!). Instead of filling my body with chemicals to ward off sickness, I prefer to flush out impurities that might lead to sickness. Enter the "Nasal Cleansing Pot" - a.k.a. the "Neti Pot". Traditionally used as a purification ritual for practicing yoga, the Neti Pot can also be used simply to cleanse the nasal passages.
To use: fill the dishwasher safe, lead-free, ceramic pot with a saline solution of 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water. Tilt your head slightly forward and to one side so that your forehead is at the same level as your chin. Place the spout of the pot gently against your raised nostril and slowly pour in approximately half of the saline solution. The salt water will flush out your sinuses and come out from your lowered nostril. Be sure to breathe through your MOUTH during the cleansing process. When done, exhale gently through your nose to clear the nasal passages (preferably into a tissue or over the sink). Repeat with the other nostril.
If you're thinking it sounds pretty awful to pour salt water into your nose, let me assure you that it is not nearly as masochistic as it sounds. It is a little uncomfortable at first, but not at all painful if you make sure not to inhale the saline solution. This is a great way to remove excess mucous, clear your nostrils for easier breathing, reduce pollen or allergens, relieve nasal dryness, and to flush out any lingering germs.
Stay healthy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Footprint Calculator

This is a neat website that allows you to "find out your Ecological Footprint, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the earth."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait

Plastic Bottles, 2007 60x120" Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.
Plastic Bags, 2007 60x72" Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.

Cans Seurat, 2007 60x92" Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

Paper Bags, 2007 60x80" Depicts 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour.

My friend sent me a link to the artist Chris Jordan's gallery entitled "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait". This collection "looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something...this project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, [the artist] hope[s] to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming."
I was blown away while looking at the images - but even more awestruck (in a sickening way) by the statistics of American consumption. Here's the link should you want to view Jordan's entire collection.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Carborexic" - A New Entry for the DSM?

I doubt that the American Psychological Association will be adding "Carborexic" to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but an article in today's NY Times claims that "to some mental health professionals, the compulsion to live green in the extreme can suggest a kind of disorder." According to the article, a "carborexic" is essentially an "energy anorexic... [one who] obsess[es] over personal carbon emissions to an unhealthy degree, the way crash dieters watch the bathroom scale." How to know if you're exhibiting carborexic behavior? Well, apparently if your obsession with living green negatively interferes with your day-to-day life. Hmmm... thoughts?

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to Recycle Anything

The magazine Real Simple has published a two-part A-to-Z guide of "how to recycle anything". From aerosol cans to zippered plastic bags, the September and October issues offer many tips of how to recycle, well, pretty much anything! Some ideas I'm gonna check out: 1) swap CDs, DVDs, and paperback books with others at 2) go to for prepaid shipping labels, envelopes, or collection boxes for recycling your PDAs, MP3 players, cameras, and other electronic devices. The proceeds will be donated to breast cancer charities. 3) Donate used sneakers to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program at "Worn-out athletic shoes of any brand are collected, processed and recycled into material used in sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for young people around the world."

When you do the research, it's amazing to discover how many companies and organizations are devoting time and energy to recycling efforts.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catching Up

Hi there folks - I apologize for the recent lack of posts! We have been extremely busy here, what with house repairs from Ike, finding out that we are moving back to Boston (yay!) and starting to think about putting our house on the market. I will resume with posting soon, and I appreciate your patience.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Green Schools

The school I work at is in the first phase of constructing a new campus - the founder and directors of the school have decided to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the new school. Schools with LEED certification (based on the LEED Green Building Rating System) are designed, constructed, and operated with an ecologically-friendly mindset.

For more information, visit:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ike Reflection

Although we are still in the middle of restoring our house, stop lights are out all over the city, and massive piles of leftover debris litter the sidewalks, we are trying our best to put Hurricane Ike behind us. As you can see above, we tried to make light of a heavy situation by donning headlamps during the 8 days without power - my fiance has a way of making me laugh even during highly stressful times!

I did learn some things about my daily consumption of energy from this experience. For instance, I found myself automatically flipping light switches in the middle of the day when entering a room. If it's light outside, there is no need to use electric light! I will be more prudent about this now that we have power again. I also realized that I am a culprit of using too much water. Sure, I turn the faucet off while brushing my teeth and try to limit the amount of time in the shower, but I can - and should - conserve even more water. There's nothing like a few days without running water to enlighten you about how much water you normally use.

As you can see, I've found an ecologically-sound silver lining to my first hurricane experience!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I recently subscribed to GreenDimes, a company that allows you to FINALLY put an end to all of the junk mail that arrives in your mailbox. Once you subscribe, (visit the website at, you can choose which catalogs, advertisements, promotional postcards, etc. to stop receiving. The Premium Member package, (which requires a one-time fee of $20), includes the following: a catalog screener, "clickstop automatic removal" from junk mail, 5 trees planted on your behalf, monthly monitoring of your name on junk mail lists, unlimited family names to add to the removal list, and the collection of items pictured above (a tee shirt, a book by Mercer Mayer about Earth Day, 2 Greenlite light bulbs, and a reusable shopping bag that stuffs into an attached pocket-sized sack). It apparently takes a few months to notice the decrease in junk mail, and you do have to make a conscious effort to check off unwanted mail on the website, (start a pile of unwanted mail near your computer, check 'em off when you have a chance, then toss them in the recycling bin), but I have heard great things about this environmentally-friendly organization!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hurricane Update

We weathered the storm without any bodily harm, but unfortunately our house did not make it out of Ike unscathed. The top half of a 100 foot pine tree fell on our house, puncturing 5 holes in the roof and causing excessive water damage to the guest room and bathroom. We are currently staying in a hotel, while we wait for the power to come back on and a contractor to affirm that it is safe to stay in our home. I will post some pictures and resume blogging soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prep for Hurricane Ike

As Hurricane Ike comes barreling towards Houston, we are preparing for the worst (a couple weeks without power, shattered glass, etc.) but hoping for the best! Although this post in not exactly green-oriented, I thought I'd share some tips we've picked up from folks who have been through many of these storms (Ike will be our first hurricane experience - I'm NOT looking forward to it).
In no particular order:

Step #1: Barricade any big windows against strong winds (with this category 2 storm, we'll see winds up to 80 mph). The photo of the back of our house shows the barricade my fiance put up over the back windows.
Step #2 Put tape over windows in an X or a star shape. This method is to keep hit glass from shattering into a million pieces.
Step #3: Place saran wrap between the drain and plug in all of your bathtubs, then fill to the brim. If you lose electricity, this reserved water will enable you to flush the toilet. The plastic wrap ensure a tight seal over the drain.
Step #4: Load up on non-perishable items and bottles of water (we might have quite a large recycling trip in our near future!).
Step #5: Bring all outdoor furniture, potted plants, the grill, and other possible projectiles into your garage.
Step #6: Make sure you have plenty of candles, matches, batteries, and flashlights in a central location.
Step #7: Gather up board games, books, magazines, etc. to keep your mind off of what is happening outside!
Step #8: Load up on ice, and store in big coolers to keep perishable foods fresh.
Step #9: Purchase a battery-operated radio so you can keep track of the storm if the power goes out.
Step #10: Wash and dry all of your dirty laundry before the storm hits. This way you will have clean clothes and bedding throughout the duration of the power outage.
We're just planning on sitting tight, or "hunkering down" as the folks down here call it.
My thoughts are with those who have left their homes due to mandatory evacuations, and everyone else who will be impacted by Ike.
It may be quite some time until I can post again. Stay safe if you are in Eastern Texas!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

SIGG Water Bottle

SIGG "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink From Plastic" 33 oz Lifestyle Water Bottle: Made from a single piece of aluminum, this light-weight, crack resistant, and recyclable bottle has been on my list of "green products to buy" for a while now. I was close to devastated (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration) when I found out that my beloved Nalgene and Camelbak plastic water bottles contained the harmful BPA (Bisphenol-A) chemical... look for the number 7 in the middle of a triangle on your plastic containers - if you see this, it's time to replace the container! BPA has come under suspicion as being a culprit for altering hormones by leaching into food and beverages from Polycarbonate #7 plastics. Luckily, "SIGG bottles exceed FDA requirements and have been thoroughly tested to ensure 0.0% leaching – so they are 100% safe," according to the SIGG website:

The SIGG company manufactures its products in "an ecologically-friendly environment," and donates 1% of all profits to environmental causes.

I'm not one to broadcast political statements for others to see, (i.e. on my car's bumper etc.), but living ecologically is one message I don't hesitate to proselytise.