Monday, October 31, 2011

Lazy Chef: Brie & Fig Mac n' Cheese

I love mac and cheese. I am a bit of a comfort food fanatic, and a nice homemade baked mac n' cheese is one of my absolute favorites. However, since I'm a self-proclaimed "lazy chef," I often opt for the easier route to my mac n' cheese treat: Annie's Organic Mac n' Cheese. Annie's is wonderful, but it definitely lacks that home-baked taste. I was almost about to suck it up and do some real cooking when I stumbled upon the perfect solution - Gourmet Mac n' Cheeses by Good Tastes! I opted for the Brie and Fig frozen dish and finally decided to try it for dinner last night. It was incredibly delicious, and even though the serving size seemed a bit small, the mac was so rich that I was full in just a few bites.

Good Tastes is a local gourmet mac n' cheese business that was founded by Sarah Pike, a woman who grew up on an organic farm in Maine. She uses her background to bring quality, sustainably grown ingredients to one of America's favorite comfort foods. Good Tastes is based out of Newburyport, MA and is sold exclusively in New England. The only downside is that the products are a bit pricey - but once in a while, this local, quality food is the perfect way to warm up on a cold and hungry night!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lavender Roundup

I've been on a mission to purge things with artificial scents. Artificial scents are created using thousands of different chemicals, some of which can be harmful to your health. Luckily, my favorite scent can be derived from all natural essential oil - lavender! Here are some of my favorite safe, sustainable, and great smelling lavender products that don't use any artificial scents:

Stop being a skeptic - Tom's deodorant works! 

Love this lotion - comes in a huge bottle and is super-affordable.

Local & lovely. Def check out lavender soap by Leap Organics.

Perfect for the bathroom. 

I am OBSESSED with my lavender orange Badger Balm. Plus its USDA certified organic.

Nothing makes evenings cozier than a lavender scented soy candle. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

About the Author

After last night's Boston Green Drinks event, I realized, not only are people confused about what I do, but that I also have trouble explaining it - AHHH! I am happy to wear many hats (though they are all similar) but I think I need to be more clear about when I'm wearing which hat. Hope that makes sense!

Right now I feel a little bit like my favorite Gauguin painting:

Where Do We Come From? What are We? Where are We Going? by Paul Gauguin

So let me use this post to clear things up. First and foremost, I am a 24 year old St. Lawrence University graduate with a passion for healthy green living, art, policy, fashion, hockey, travel, reading, and socializing. I work full time as a Paralegal for a firm in Cambridge that focuses on pharmaceutical litigation and consumer issues. While I've decided not to go to law school, I enjoy my paralegal job: I have great opportunities to conduct research, draft legal documents, and learn about our justice system. However, outside of my 9 - 5 job, I spend my time researching, reading, and writing about green living. 

Merida Meridian  - I am a contract writer for Merida Meridian's green living blog. Merida is a Boston-based natural fiber area rug company that has been committed to sustainability for over 30 years. I write approximately 5-7 articles per month for their blog and also try do some guest posts for them on other related blogs. 

Boston Green Drinks - I recently began keeping the calendar of local events on the Boston Green Drinks website, under "Green Around Town." I keep my eye out for upcoming sustainability related events and then add them to the calendar so that Bostonians can find a list of all interesting events in one place. 

Examiner - I occasionally write articles on Examiner is a citizen sourced news site. I get paid a (very) small fee for writing on examiner as the North End Green Living expert. 

Boston Green Blog - This is my own blog that I write as a hobby. I use it to notify my readers about upcoming events, write product reviews, share my goals and finds, and basically chronicle my life as a 20-something girl going green in Boston. 

So that is who I am and what I do in a nutshell. Where I am going, I still don't know, haha, but I am always open to content sharing opportunities and networking!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RRR: Fall Entertaining

Fall is a great time to host parties - spiced apple cider, pie, and cozy warm atmosphere - what could be better?! While surfing through Re-Nest by Apartment Therapy this morning, I stumbled across this great fall decor idea that is perfect for the ultimate sustainable party hostess:

These candle holders are easy to make, locally grown, and 100% biodegradable! Plus they are so festive! Just remember to use either soy or beeswax candles with them because traditional candles are made from petroleum-based wax. 

Hope to see you all tonight at Boston Green Drinks at Kingston Station!

Monday, October 24, 2011

October is Fair Trade Month

In honor of Fair Trade Month, I tried a free sample of Numi Jasmine Green Tea. Numi prides itself on being deeply committed to Fair Trade and fair labor practices. Many of their teas are also USDA certified organic and sold in recycled packaging. Numi was founded in 1999 with great environmental and humanitarian goals, and they now purchase more Fair Trade Certified Tea than any other brand!

So how does it taste? Fab! At first I was a little put off by the jasmine because I am used to drinking plain green tea, but after a few sips, I began to enjoy the floral hint in my tea. As you may know from reading this blog, I am a tea fanatic, and now that fall weather is finally here, I am looking forward to having a mug of Numi every evening! I am also excited to try some of their other flavors including Moroccan Mint and Aged Earl Grey. I'll let you know what I think of them soon.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Register for Boston Green Drinks

The next gathering of Boston Green Drinks will take place on Tuesday, October 25th at 6pm at Kingston Station. Click here to register for the event and come mingle with industry professionals and interested parties - and of course - enjoy some truffle fries! This month's Boston Green Drink's event is being co-hosted by Green Living Project Mobile Tour!  The evening will feature a multi-media event on cutting-edge sustainability-related projects covers Central America to Ann Arbor, Michigan! A must-see event for any adventure traveler, Latin America enthusiast, or sustainability advocate. This inspiring showcase features unique projects across Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama. Experience the expedition team’s journey and then witness the latest efforts in marine conservation (leatherback turtles), adventure eco-lodges, ‘voluntourism’, urban sustainable tourism (geo-tourism), indigenous communities, renewable energy (solar, micro-hydro), education, and sustainable agro-forestry. The team will also display their new Soltrekker Bio-diesel RV before the presentation, so come by early and check it out! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thrift Store Score

Thrift stores are the most classic way to RRR. You never know what you might find, but if you look hard enough, there's always something good. So to inspire you to give thrift stores a try, I am sharing with you my FAVORITE item I've ever gotten from a thrift store:

I love this necklace. I wear it all the time. It adds a high-end and fun edge to every outfit. I found it about six months ago at a dusty thrift store in Potsdam, New York while visiting my alma mater. The store, North Country Neighbors was my favorite place to find hidden gems in college. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Save the Bats!

Late October is the perfect time to bring awareness of endangered bats. Bats are a traditional symbol of Halloween, but in all reality, bat populations are under serious threat across the Northeast due to white nose syndrome. Bats are super important to this region because they eat mosquitoes! The Nature Conservancy has begun a PSA campaign to draw attention to this issue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Responsible Investing Event Tomorrow!

In order to make the Boston Green Drinks event calendar as complete as possible, I have been searching the web for Boston-based sustainability events. I've also been getting lots of e-mails from event coordinators. It has been great - I feel very in touch with the green community since I know whats going on!  One event that looks particularly interesting is Green Your Green: An introduction to investing responsibly. It takes place tomorrow night at the Boston Public Library in Copley. Here is the event description:

Still trying to explain sustainable and responsible investing to your family and friends? Invite them to come along and listen to the pioneering leaders of sustainable and responsible investing! This is a rare opportunity to hear Amy Domini who created one of the first sustainable mutual fund companies, Tim Smith, a leading voice in shareholder activism, and Robert Zevin who helped bring an end to South African apartheid through divestment, speak about the socially responsible investment movement and how people can be responsible in their own investments.

Do you:

  • Buy oganic? Recycle? Give to good causes?
  • Have a 401k? Hold mutual funds? have a bank account?
  • Want to make the world a better place?
Learn from leading Boston investing firms

- how to invest in line with your values without giving up performance
- how to leverage the power of your investments for good
- how small changes can have large impacts on big companies
- how to make MORE money by being aware of environmental and social risks

Date and time: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 6:00pm
Location: Boston Public Library - Copley Branch - The Boston Room
Boston, MA

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anthropologie Dishtowels

Another one of my Green Goals is to not use paper towels. This can be tricky because many of us have become paper towel addicts. But using dishtowels or rags instead of paper towels can potentially save a lot of trees, reduce your carbon footprint, and help you save some cash. For grease spills or spills on the floor, I use rags made of some reused material - an old bath towel or T shirt. For counter top spills, dishtowels are much more fun and can be a fun decor item!

Yesterday was my roommate's birthday, and her mom got her some of these adorable dishtowels by Anthropologie! They're so cute!

Friday, October 14, 2011

KRU 82 Makes RRR Easy

  I am completely intrigued by KRU 82 vodka. I haven't tried it yet, but I love that it comes in a stainless steel bottle that is easy to reuse as a waterbottle. It is shatterproof and absolutely perfect for hiking and biking! So if you happen to be in need of a new waterbottle, and are also a vodka drinker, this is the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone and avoid the unnecessary waste of recycling a glass or plastic vodka bottle. 
Another innovative way to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Local Wines from Nashoba Valley

So I've been doing pretty well with my green goal of purchasing only wines made from organic grapes or biodynamic wines. Yesterday, however, I decided to add another category to this goal: local wines. Massachusetts definitely isn't known for its wine production, but there are some local wineries - such as Nashoba Valley Winery. I bought the Cranberry Apple wine (I mean, come on, whats more Massachusetts than that?!) and it was fabulous! It may not be organic, but it has a lower carbon footprint than wines shipped here from South Africa or Australia.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Boston Green Blog on Twitter

Until now, I've been tweeting via my personal account [@CameronBruns] but my blog has grown, and I think its time for its very own twitter account! So follow @BosGreenBlog for the lastest from BGB as well as other Boston-specific green news! And you won't have to weed through all of my personal tweets like "OMG can't wait to see you this weekend {insert inside joke}"
Tweets from @BosGreenBlog will be specifically for my blog readers and lovers of green living.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Glass Jars are a Lasting Trend

I have decided to ban as much plastic from my kitchen as possible. This is a tricky task - and I haven't even begun to think about food packaging because it seems nearly impossible to purchase foods (besides produce) that aren't packaged in plastic of some sort - but I'm trying. I've been successful in not using a zip lock bag for over two years and I've replaced my plastic dishware with ceramic. Next step: cups.

Using old jam jars for cups is super trendy right now. People love the quaint shabby-chic look, while also being able to use glass rather than plastic. Since jam jar glasses are one of the easiest types of RRR (reduce, reuse, and recycle), this trend is sure to stick around. My plan is to recycle or donate an old plastic cup every time i finish a jar of jelly. In a few months I'll have a whole set!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser Review

While shopping in the Tarte Cosmetics section of Sephora last week, I decided to also search the store for some healthy and sustainable face wash. After scavenging and reading ingredients lists of various products for what felt like hours, I stumbled across Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser by The Body Shop. What first attracted me to the product was the story of how they use only aloe purchased from their community trade partners in Guatemala. The cleanser is also preservative and paraben-free, and was rated a 1 on the Skin Deep Database (low hazard). 

I've used the product every day since and am very happy with the results. It is effective and doesn't have any weird scents. I feel fresh after using it. I would suggest it for anyone with sensitive skin. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Green Restaurants in Boston

So I've been to Grendel's Den, Boloco, Cafeteria, and Peet's Coffee like a million times, so I decided to make a green restaurant to-do list. These four restaurants have committed to serve sustainable food and reduce their waste and carbon footprints. I can't wait to check them out.

1. 75 Chestnut, Beacon Hill, The host of "green thursdays"

2. Taranta, North End, recommended by some of my twitter followers, and is a certified green restaurant.

3. The Fireplace, Brookline, one of Boston's fav dining destinations.

4. Miel, Boston Intercontinental Hotel, Rowes Wharf, certified green restaurant.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ecolissa's Fall Fashion Show

This Sunday, October 9th is Ecolissa's Fall Charity Fashion Show. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it because it would take me over two hours to get to Marlborough. I'm hoping that they host another fashion show closer to Boston at some point! But I hope that some of you readers will go to the show and report back to me! Click here for details and to register for the event (its free!)

Ecolissa is one of my favorite websites. They are a Massachusetts based consumer website that carries only sustainable and ethical clothing. Some of the items are a bit pricey, but they are gorgeous!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Under My Umbrella

The weather has been pretty gloomy the past few days. The North Shore is getting the worst of it - Peabody even declared a state of emergency! Its such a bummer because Autumn can be so gorgeous. Until the weather clears up, I've turned to my favorite umbrella: Totes 70% recycled materials umbrella!
 Its small and easily portable, and has a bamboo handle. These recycled umbrellas are also easy to find because they are sold at common shops like Target and TJ Maxx. Plus they have a big recycled symbol on them so everyone knows how green you are! Haha its a little "ecotistical" but I love it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Skindinavia for Party Skin

Halloween is around the corner, followed by MY BIRTHDAY, Thanksgiving, and then holiday season. While I'm sad to kiss summer goodbye, I am so excited for party season to gear up. The only problem is that since I've been giving my makeup box a green makeover, many of the products are more expensive than their drugstore equivalent, and I don't want my makeup to run out too quickly. In an effort to save myself some money and still look great, I decided to try a sample of Skindinavia Makeup Setting Spray. The spray isn't really a green product, but it is paraben free and definitely makes my makeup last longer.

After completing my makeup, I closed my eyes and sprayed Skindinavia over my face. It works! My makeup lasted all day - no need for touchups. I plan to only use the spray on occasions where I know I will be out for a long period of time, because while Skindinavia helps prevent makeup overuse, not all of its ingredients are green or healthy. It is rated 6 on the Skin Deep Database which means it is a "moderate hazard," but I'm glad it is paraben free at least!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Philadelphia Bleeds Green

This weekend I had a fabulous time visiting friends in the city of brotherly love. Throughout my various Philly adventures, I was constantly impressed by the level of eco-awareness.

Pictured below was our first little eco-discovery of the weekend, an outdoor greenhouse that also served as an art installation. The design of the greenhouse was designed to represent the skeleton of a woolly mammoth. It was a great metaphor for the circle of life and death and evolution. Plus, tours of this greenhouse were free!

On Sunday we went to the Eagles v. 49ers game, which was lots of fun even though the Eagles lost. All of the cups in the stadium are made of a corn-based compostable material. The napkins were made of recycled paper and even the rally rags/terrible towels that were handed out were made of 100% recycled materials. Football and green living? What a perfect sunday! Turns out Eagles fans really do "bleed green."

Philly also has tons of great thrift shops and vintage stores. I also noticed that purses and wallets made out of post-consumer/reused materials were for sale everywhere! I lovvvvvved the soda can top purses that looked like this:

Keep it up Philly!