Friday, December 28, 2012

New Years Resolutions for 2013

Time to compile a list of resolutions for 2013! Some of my resolutions from last year made the list once again - maybe I'll actually accomplish them this time. There's always hope! 

1. Shower in less than 7 minutes. 
2. Avoid fast fashion.
3. Travel somewhere new (and purchase carbon offsets for the trip).
4. Purchase less processed foods. 
5. Attend two green events per month.
6. Take more of my own photography for Boston Green Blog.
7. Do an unplugged workout 3 times per week. 
8. Clean with home-made natural supplies. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Downton Abbey's Lady Grantham - Unknowingly Green!

I am a huge Downton Abbey enthusiast, and I am eagerly awaiting the U.S. season 3 premiere! And since I always keep my eye out for green ideas - I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes of Cousin Violet/Dowager Countess of Grantham when she is being unknowingly green. Afterall, she thinks electricity is pointless! She prefers living off the grid (before people really knew what the grid was!).

"I couldn't have electricity in the house, I wouldn't sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about."

“First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in an H.G. Wells novel.”

Just a reminder that we can still be classy without all of the latest and greatest technology!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cooking with Less Waste

Over the holiday weekend I did a lot of cooking with my family. Like many families, our Christmas traditions revolve around food. There is cookie decorating, the Christmas morning quiche, the elaborate bloody marys, and when we're finished opening presents and eating brunch, its already time to begin preparing the Christmas dinner feast! Luckily, my family is totally behind me in this whole "going green" mentality, so our quiche was made with organic, cage-free eggs, and we had many vegetarian side-dishes to choose from. But our new green Christmas tradition is composting!

Up in the 'burbs, we have a big woodsy yard, so this summer my parents decided to start a compost pile behind our house. The whole process is surprisingly easy. We keep a small bowl in the kitchen where we toss coffee grounds, egg shells, and fruit/vegetable scraps. At the end of each day, one of us empties the bowl into a larger, air-tight container in the garage. (Like the one pictured below). When this container is full, its slowly biodegrading contents are put on the compost pile in the yard. The decomposition process is slower in the winter, but in the warmer weather we will begin turning the pile. And eventually, we will have nice rich soil to use in our vegetable garden!

image courtesy of

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mark Your Eco-Holiday Progress on Practically Green

Have you been working to make your holiday greener than ever this season? I've made some of my own upcycled gift wrap, bought fairly traded gifts, and sent holiday greetings via e-mail instead of USPS. If you've taken some similar steps, give yourself a pat on the back! And give yourself some recognition by marking off the actions you've completed on Practically Green's Holiday Giving Guide!

By marking keeping track of your progress on Practically Green, you'll feel more satisfied with your efforts by earning badges. And the website is bursting with more easy green living tips (which are great to look through as you plan out your new year's resolutions!)

images courtesy of

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unconventional Wrapping Paper Ideas

One great way to green your holidays this year is by wrapping gifts using recycled or upcycled materials. When I'm feeling creative, I love cutting brown paper bags and decorating the blank side with stamps, glitter and drawings for a DIY touch to my gift-wrap.

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Here are some other ways to cut down on traditional wrapping paper waste:

You can always wear the wrapping! Nice idea by Carolina Eclectic: Unconventional Christmas Wrapping

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Wearable wrapping - if your friends and family wear scarves, wrap the rest of their gift in one for a totally waste-free gift. Same could be done with a shirt or cute dish towels

I love the idea of wrapping gifts in maps and other unconventional things.

An old map is a great look for gift wrap! Lets be honest, we all use Google maps now anyway, so its time to clear out your car's glove compartment. 

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With a little ribbon, newspaper can actually look quite cute!

For small gifts, decorate an Altoids tin.

This upcycled wine/champagne bag is simply amazing. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Recipes

Such a cute idea for a Christmas veggie tray!

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Balsamic-roasted brussels sprouts

      1 pound brussel sprouts
      1/8 cup diced pine nuts
      balsamic vinegar
      olive oil
      parmesan cheese

  • Instructions:1. Trim and peel away the outer leaves of each Brussels sprout and then half them.

  • 2. Slide the Brussels sprout halves onto the skewers, about six to eight halves per skewer.
    3. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and places the skewers halved-side up.
    4. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over each skewer, trying to “fill up” the Brussels sprouts.
    5. Bake the skewers at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until they are cooked and crispy.
    6. Plate the skewers on a serving tray and cover them with shaved Parmesan and the pine nuts.

    Wild Mushroom & Port Brioche

    Wild mushroom & port brioche


    2 tbsp olive oil
    225g chestnut mushrooms , quartered
    115g shiitake mushrooms , halved
    2 large field mushrooms , sliced
    3 sticks celery , finely chopped
    1 onion , cut into thin wedges
    2 garlic cloves , crushed
    300ml red wine
    1.2l hot vegetable stock
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    150ml port
    1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
    6 brioche rolls
    flatleaf parsleyto garnish

    Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, then fry mushrooms for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, then set aside. Add remaining oil to the pan, then fry the celery, onion and garlic over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 mins. Add wine, stock and thyme and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 mins.

    Add the port and redcurrant jelly. Bring back to the boil, then boil for 10 mins until reduced by half and thick and syrupy. Season to taste, discard the thyme and stir in the mushrooms. Simmer for 5 mins.
    Meanwhile, pull the tops off the brioche and reserve, then pick out dough from the centre to leave a thick shell. (Process remaining dough to make breadcrumbs, then freeze for future use.) Place rolls on a baking sheet, then bake for 5-7 mins until hot and crisp.

    Spoon the mushroom mixture into the brioche rolls, then garnish with the flat-leaf parsley. Serve immediately with any remaining gravy, potato wedges and green beans.

    Ready-made brioche Ready-made brioche rolls make wonderfully buttery cases for this rich wine and mushroom filling.

    Recipe from Good Food magazine, Vegetarian Christmas 2006.

Monday, December 17, 2012

RRR Idea: How to Reuse Holiday Cards

1. Gather all cards you've received this year (or any that you still might have from past years). Open each to see if there is any writing on the left inside of the card.

2. Recycle all cards that have writing on the left side.

3. Cut along the fold of all cards without writing on the left. This essentially turns the front of the card into a blank postcard!

4. Use your newly created postcards as gift tags or holiday cards for next year!

image courtesy of

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas & Consumption

I don't think anyone considers their Christmas to be all about presents, but gift-giving remains a time-honored tradition that people around the world look forward to each year. I love giving (and receiving!) Christmas gifts too, but the article below is a great reminder to give only things that the recipient will actually use - don't just give for the sake of giving.

The article entitled The Gift of Death by George Monbiot is pessimistic, but enlightening:

"But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away."

 So, in the words of Monbiot, this Christmas try something more long-lasting, homemade, or meaningful:

"Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t."

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Upcycled Christmas Decorations

In the mood for some DIY? Use that creative spirit to make some festive and green decorations for the holidays:

DIY Holiday Craft Idea: Upcycle Unused CDs into Mosaic-Style Ornaments
CDs ----> Ornaments

Christmas decoration!
Wine corks ------> Mini Christmas Tree

DIY gift bow from old magazines
Scrap paper ----> Gift bows

To find out how to do all of these (and more) upcycling crafts, check out Boston Green Blog on Pinterest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Green Gift Ideas Continued: Treehugger Guides

Only 14 days left until Christmas! So far Boston Green Blog has featured eco-friendly gift ideas from
The Nature Conservancy, The New England Aquarium, Lauren Conrad, and Jess Rizzuti  . But if you need a more comprehensive guide, take a look at TreeHugger's 2012 Gift Guide. TreeHugger composes the best  gift guides on the web, so you're sure to find something for everyone on your list!

Some of my favs that I found through TreeHugger are:

Agate Plates and Coasters From VivaTerra
Agate Plates & Coasters from VivaTerra

Lulu Frost
Earrings from Lulu Frost

book purse
Upcycled Clutch Made from Books from Conduit Press

Monday, December 10, 2012

20% Off Jess Rizzuti Eco Friendly Bags Until Dec. 31

Designer Jess Rizzuti is treating Boston Green Blog readers to 20% off all products purchased between now and December 31, 2012!!!! All you have to do is use the code: zutifam2012

Jess Rizzutti Collection

Jess Rizzuti is known for gorgeous, stylish, ethically-made handbags. She is best known for her cork bags and has been nominatedtwo years in a row for her creations in cork as Best Green Handbag in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards sponsored by InStyle. The eco friendly designs utilized water-based dyes/glue, heat transferred patterns, renewable resources, and waste reduction concepts.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Eco Gift Ideas by Lauren Conrad

Whoever thought Lauren Conrad, the blonde celebutante from The Hills, would become an eco spokeswoman?! It turns out that her website has some fabulous eco-chic gift lists!

1. 5 Eco-chic Gift Ideas

2. XO(eco) collection for Blue Avocado

3. Gift Guide for The Hostess

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Green Motown Holiday Cruise is This Weekend!

Boston Green Fest and the Foundation for a Green Future are hosting a Green Motown Holiday Cruise this Saturday, December 8, 2012!

Green Motown Holiday Cruise

Tickets include:
Boston Harbor Cruise
Concert featuring The Drifters and The Platters
Three-course Gourmet Meal

Sponsored by Westin Copley Hotel
Followed by an After Pary at FiRE & ICE in Cambridge.

Reserve your tickets here asap!

Odyssey Cruise Ship

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Make a Splash with Eco Gifts from the New England Aquarium

Last week I shared some gift ideas from The Nature Conservancy, and now that December is here, the holidays are speedily approaching! Below are some more eco-conscious gift ideas - these ones come from the New England Aquarium.

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BOSTON, Mass. – This holiday season, make all of your family and friends’ aquatic dreams come true and dive into a sea of unique eco-friendly gifts at the New England Aquarium.  Think outside the box and show your loved ones you care about them as well as the blue planet and its creatures. Your purchase will not only bring joy and inspiration to others but will also help to support the Aquarium’s education, conservation and research programs.

Surprise someone with an unforgettable one-to-one animal encounter at $75 for Aquarium members and $100 for non-members, or make someone a Proud Parent animal sponsor of a baby seal, sea turtle or penguin with sponsorship levels starting at just $35. Looking for something bigger? Make a donation to the Aquarium in the name of a loved one or as a sponsor of a North Atlantic right whale. Can’t get enough of the Aquarium’s adorable aquatic creatures? Visit the Aquarium’s gift shop to find an array of plush stuffed animals, marine-themed apparel and various educational and interactive toys and games.

Looking for something that lasts beyond the holidays?  Give the gift that keeps on giving with a one-year Aquarium membership with prices starting at $85 based on membership levels. With unlimited express admission and discounts to Aquarium programs, your friend or family member is guaranteed to learn something new with every visit.  Benefits of a one-year Aquarium membership include - but are not limited to - invitations to exclusive members-only events, discounted tickets to the Aquarium’s IMAX theater and a free subscription to blue, the Aquarium’s quarterly member magazine, and SeaMail, the Aquarium’s monthly member e-newsletter.

With products and experiences appropriate for all ages and a mission to preserve the world’s oceans, holiday shopping has never been so fun, easy or rewarding. Stop by the Aquarium’s on-site gift shop located in the lobby of the Aquarium’s West Wing, open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or, explore the Aquarium’s online gift Can’t find what you’re looking for?  Call 617-973-5266 or

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grace Potter at House of Blues this Weekend

There are many reasons to love Grace Potter in the Nocturnals besides their incredible and original music. For one, Grace's stage style is simply iconic (see below). Secondly, the band started at my alma mater! And thirdly, they are devoted to promoting local consumption and small businesses. The Vermont band has partnered with Cabot Creamery and other local businesses as a way to bolster the local food movement. She has even been known to throw locally produced goodies into the audience! 

Below is a video that explains the band's commitment to going local. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing (its about 10 minutes), just start about 7 minutes in, and you'll get the best segment. 

I am super-excited to be seeing Grace Potter and the Nocturnals tomorrow night at Boston's House of Blues! Going green, rocker style.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Shampoo

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Pros                                                                    Cons            
-widely available                                                  -rated 4 on skindeep  (moderate hazard)
-good price (under $5)                                         -contains artificial fragrance
-contains natural oils (coconut, almond, etc.)         -contains formaldehyde
-cleans & conditions effectively                            -no info on policies re envit/social responsibility

Conclusion: Though this shampoo does a great job cleaning hair, it is certainly not an eco-friendly product. It contains a few potentially hazardous ingredients and the company doesn't seem to have a regard for environmental packaging or other product line concerns. The price is tempting, but I will probably pay the extra few bucks to get a safer and more responsible product next time. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

World Climate Summit 2012: The Basics

This week leaders from around the world are gathering in Doha, Qatar for the World Climate Summit 2012. The summit is not merely a gathering of political leaders, but also business leaders, NGOs, financiers, and students. The goal is to develop global strategies that improve quality of life, create opportunities for prosperity, and to achieve both in a way that addresses threats posed by climate change. These strategies are designed through three avenues during the summit:

  • Plenary Sessions – World class sessions featuring high-level private and public thought-leader from global business, finance, government and institutions will address substantial climate business issues and major climate solutions that possess the biggest potential for profitability.
  • Networking – delegates and speakers will have plenty of time to interact, exchange ideas, learn from each other and collaborate with one another during purpose-built networking sessions at breakfasts, lunches and breaks.
  • Media – Journalists from globally leading media outlets will attend and participate in the Summit through an established ‘media centre’ and during plenary sessions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Celebrate the Holidays by Giving Green with The Nature Conservancy

This just in from our friends at the Nature Conservancy:

BOSTON, MA — Tired of giving gifts you know people will never use?  This year, skip the shopping and give gifts that do more than decorate a shelf or hang in a closet.  Join The Nature Conservancy and give green!

Not only are green gifts meaningful and responsible, but you’ll avoid the worst part of the holidays: Long lines at the shopping mall, endless circles around the parking lot for a spot, and running out of wrapping paper on Christmas Eve.  Green gifts will not only delight and excite, but they help conserve the lands and waters we love!

Consider breaking the cycle this year.  Below are some ideas for green gifts:

·         Give education - Sponsor a LEAF intern!  Last summer, The Nature Conservancy partnered with the Boston Green Academy to provide conservation internships to local students.  Six students were selected for paid summer internships through the national Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program and placed in the Berkshires and Martha’s VineyardRead about their experiences.  Through the LEAF program, urban youth gain direct hands-on environmental stewardship experience, work with mentors and scientists, and a summer immersed in nature.  Your gift of $60 could pay a LEAF intern’s stipend for a day.

·         Give Experience – Experience gifts are great for that person who has everything, and they’re a fantastic way to support local businesses.  Experiences like a language class or a gift certificate to your local yoga studio are gifts that will continue to give long after the holidays have passed!  Have a fellow nature lover on your list this year? Check out our upcoming events to find hikes and lectures throughout Massachusetts that you can attend together!

·         Give a Gift Membership – You can give a green gift they will love! Delight friends and family and share your interest for environmental conservation with this perfect gift. Your gift recipient will receive a year's worth of our quarterly, award-winning Nature Conservancy magazine and will be able to enjoy your gift all-year longLearn more about what you get with a membership.

·         Give a Handmade Gift – Chances are, the gifts your family members have saved and cherished over the years are the ones you made yourself as a child.  Surprise them by doing it again!  Chose a simple craft, like cloth napkins or handmade cards, and make one for everyone on your list.  Turning your annual shopping day to your annual crafting day is not only more personal, it’s also lighter on the packaging waste that goes along with most gifts.  Already into DIY?  Share your ideas with us!

·         Give Conservation – There are many ways to give conservation through The Nature Conservancy’s Green Gift GuideProtect what you care about most.  With the Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre program, you can conserve lands and waters in East Africa, Brazil, Australia, Costa Rica, the United States and even coral reefs!

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Discount Codes & Tips

Finish all your shopping from home by participating in Cyber Monday (TODAY!).
Shopping online is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and find exactly what you want without the added stress of the crowds.

Where to find the best deals:'s list of 40+ checkout codes and sales
-Rue La La Cyberthon
-Gilt Free Fall
MY FAV: Kate Spade Surprise Cyber Sale

Where to find the most eco deals:
-Ethical Ocean
-Fashioning Change
-Nau (get 25% an order of 2 or more items with code: 2FOR25

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Cyber Monday is Greener than Black Friday

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving during which online retailers have huge sales. The online sales are a great alternative to the crowded chaos that is Black Friday. Plus, Cyber Monday is more eco-friendly. Here's why:

-In store purchases account for 15x the amount of GHG emissions caused by online purchases. (data from 2010).

-When shopping online it is easier to compare company values and purchase from a socially and environmentally ethical company.

-No paper coupons needed.

-Easy to use promo codes from twitter and other social media sites. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Bio-Oil Scar Treatment

Pros                                                           Cons                                    
-Easy to use bottle                                      -Rated a 7 on the SkinDeep database (high hazard!)
-Contains lavender oil                                  -Contains artificial fragrance and retinyl acetate
-No parabens or palm oil                             -Marketing targets pregnant women
-Recyclable packaging                                 -No information regarding animal testing or green policies

Conclusion: This is a prime example of tricky product names. Just because the word "bio" is in the title does not mean that the product is green, healthy, or natural in any way. While Bio-Oil is paraben free and somewhat effective, its ingredient list contains some concerning substances. Small doses of artificial fragrance or retinyl acetate (which are both considered a high health hazard by the Environmental Working Group) may not do much harm, but the fact that this product is marketed towards pregnant women is worrisome. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Skin Deep Database is Back!

Good news makeup lovers, the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database, which lists health, environmental, and labor concerns of thousands of products, is back in action. The new site looks great, and is more complete than the old one - so I look forward to reading more updated information.

Get ready for lots of beauty reviews over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Its my birthday! In lieu of cards or well-wishes, just act extra green today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Natural Gas, Old & New in Pennsylvania

Fracking is a hot topic in the energy field. Both presidential candidates supported fracking as it will create jobs and potentially lower energy costs. However, this comes with some great environmental risks.

I highly recommend reading/listening to this great article from NPR on how abandoned gas wells from the 1800s are creating danger as fracking ramps up in the state.

Shell burned off gas from June through August at the Morse well pad in Bradford County, Pa., to prevent natural gas from leaking to the surface after one of its drilling sites intersected an abandoned gas well.
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