Thursday, May 31, 2012

Less Meat = Big Trend

Today, a fascinating article was published by the Associated Press about American diets and preferred sources of protein. The article reveals that while beef, chicken, and eggs are "complete" sources of protein, more Americans than ever before are opting for vegetarian/vegan protein sources like beans. This is great for the environment, but vegans and vegetarians still need to be careful that they are getting the proper amino acids to absorb proteins. I, for one, am happy to see this trend and hope it continues!

                                    In this image taken on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Amanda Perry mixes a protein shake for lunch at her home in Tyngsborough, Mass. Perry, a gym owner and personal trainer, blends a vegan protein powder with almond milk, natural peanut butter, ice and a banana as a drink in her daily diet.  A surge in protein as both a nutrient and a marketing element has been added to the American diet. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Safari Chic Japonesque Makeup Brushes

image courtesy of

Pros                                                                                 Cons                           
-Compact design, easy for travel                                      -Synthetic fibers (derived from petroleum)
-Effective and easy to use                                                 -Company has no green commitments
-Cute animal print design                                                  -Not made of recycled/rapidly renewable material
-Reasonable price ($30 for set)
-Synthetic fibers (many makeup companies use animal hair)

Conclusion: While these makeup tools are cute and a nice size, they are not truly eco friendly. Vegans may prefer these brushes because they don't contain animal hair, but there are many brands of vegan brushes that are made using bamboo or post-consumer recycled materials. In fact, there are a few companies that specialize in just that - (think EcoTools or Klix...and NVEY brushes are compostable.) Next time, I am likely to opt for one of these brands. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

LevelUp Your Green Shopping

Unless you keep all of your receipts for your financial records, receipts are an unnecessary waste of paper. I keep track of my purchases online, so I really have no use for receipts and I always say no when a cashier asks if I'd like one. However, now there is an even easier way to avoid receipts - LevelUp!

LevelUp Color Logo

LevelUp is a smartphone app. in which you can link your credit or debit card and pay by putting your phone up in front of a special scanner at the cashier stand. Not only do you get amazing discounts from this app, but your receipts are e-mailed to you! NO PAPER INVOLVED! Think about how much paper and ink can be saved if this becomes the norm! Plus, many local businesses already have LevelUp readers at locations throughout Boston - its a great (not to mention convenient) way to support local businesses.

image courtesy of

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Boston in Bloom

Saw so many lovely flowers on my walk home from work yesterday. What a wonderful time of year in the city!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Nutra Nails Naturals - Cuticle Remover

Pros                                                                        Cons              
-Works!                                                                -Product not yet rated on EWG database
-Moderate price ($6)                                            -Nutra Nail has not signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics
-No dyes, fragrances, parabens, petrochemicals     -No known policy regarding animal testing
-No sulphates or formaldehyde 

Conclusion: This product really works, and you don't need to do any cutting! It makes it easy to give yourself a healthy home manicure or pedicure. The product is fairly new which is probably why it hasn't yet been rated on the EWG database, so I will keep my eyes out for the results. As far as nail products go, this looks very promising and I would definitely buy it again. I've seen it both at Whole Foods and at some drug stores. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Use Herbs

Since I live in a small apartment in the North End, I don't have room for a full-fledged veggie garden. But I do grow herbs on my kitchen window sills. Having fresh homegrown herbs like basil is such a nice addition to many summer dishes. Here is a cute illustrated guide about how to use the most common herbs:

image courtesy of Illustrated Bites

Monday, May 21, 2012

See 'On Point' Live with Featured Guest Bill McKibbon

NPR fans & Environmentalists should definitely check out this amazing event coming to Boston in June!

Join WBUR for On Point LIVE on Thursday, June 14, at the Paramount Center. On Point host Tom Ashbrook will speak with his special guest, Bill McKibben, noted author, educator and environmentalist. They’ll be talking about the Keystone Pipeline, of course, as well as fracking and the economics and politics of climate change.
Purchase a ticket to the 7 p.m. show by donating $75 to WBUR. Or donate $175 to attend the special pre-show reception in the Black Box Theater, with food, drinks and a chance to meet the staff of On Point.
When: Thursday, June 14, 7 p.m. (Pre-show reception begins at 5:30 p.m.)
Where: Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston. Directions and parking info here.
Tickets: On sale now. All tickets will be emailed by The Paramount Center within two weeks of the performance.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Earth Fest is Tomorrow!

Radio 92.9's annual Earth Fest on the Esplanade is happening tomorrow!!! There will be live music including: Twin Berlin, Eve 6, Switchfoot, The Spin Doctors, and 3rd Eye Blind. And of course there will be free samples of lots of eco-friendly goodies! See you there between 11:30am and 5:00pm.

With awesome musical performances on the main stage, Radio 92.9 EarthFest presented by Whole Foods Market also features environmental non-profits from across the country, The Whole Foods Market Vendor Village with free samples from companies that share our attention to being green and the Kids’ Planet – an expanded interactive family area with environmentally focused learning opportunities, entertainment and exhibits for children.
Radio 92.9 EarthFest features and extensive recycling program for the 100,000+ attendees, strict policies and guidelines to ensure all vendors and exhibitors meet our environmentally focused standards, and will again be a Carbon Neutral event through the purchase of Carbon Offset credits.

image courtesy of

Thursday, May 17, 2012

BGB to be Featured During Plum District Twitter Party!

Plum District - a coupon/deal website for moms is starting up in Boston. To celebrate this move they're hosting a twitter party next Wednesday night (5/23) from 9pm - 10pm EST. They are featuring ME as a panelist!!!

So join the party whether your a mom or not! Follow @PlumDistrictBOS and use #PDBoston.

Click here to RSVP (an possibly win $10 to Plum District!)

Plum District Boston Twitter Party

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel

Pros                                                                            Cons                    
-Effective, not too harsh                                               -Not yet rated by EWG
-Moderate price ($17)                                                 -Not widely available
-Fragrance and dye free
-100% recyclable packaging

Conclusion: Not a whole lot of third party information about this product on the web - so I am wary of its claims to be 99% natural since the word "natural" has no specific criteria and can often be used by marketers to greenwash. However, I LOVE that this product is fragrance free - I feel truly clean after using it and it is gentle enough that I use it on my face (which is a BIG deal since I have super sensitive skin). I am eagerly awaiting for EWG to review the Paula's Choice Earth Sourced line of products on its SkinDeep database, because I like this cleanser, and LOVE the moisturizer, but I'm not quite convinced of their claims just yet. It is a great choice for vegans though!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Green Spring Cleaning

Today's post comes from Sam Marquit of Fair Marquit Value. Enjoy these handy cleaning tips! Thanks Sam, for your great guest post.

image courtesy of

Green Spring Cleaning

My home is my castle and sanctuary. I like to treat it as such. Sure, I may consider its status as Long Island Real Estate to make it just a little extra special, but spring cleaning is my way to care for and give respect to the home that takes care of me, regardless. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, and I want to nurture it as well as I can. I'm careful about what I put into and use on my own body. I try to use the same level of conscientiousness while cleaning my home. Being "green" is just an added benefit, and one I'll take every time.

There are many "green" cleaning products on the market, but they're so easy  to make yourself. I'll spend the extra couple minutes and a few household ingredients to mix them up myself. There are really only a few simple things that I keep in my cleaning closet: white vinegar, washing soda, baking soda, borax, natural peppermint soap, a few spray bottles, sponges, rags and brushes. Some people like to add essential oils to their cleaners, but I'm not much of a fan of most fragrances.

One of the best things about using these natural cleaners is that I don't have to worry about kids or pets getting sick if they get into them. My childhood nemesis, Mr. Yuck, does not live in my house.

Vinegar is probably the one thing that I use the most for cleaning around the house. It even has antimicrobial properties. I usually dilute it with water, from as little as a half cup of vinegar per gallon of water, to straight vinegar. The ratio depends on what I'm cleaning. If you're less tolerant of the odor of vinegar, you'll probably want to dilute it more, and maybe add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. A little oil goes a long way.

For my glass top stove, I usually use a minimally diluted solution. If I had a particularly messy spill and resultant burned on ring, I'll sprinkle some baking soda on, spray on the vinegar, and let it sit for a few minutes. I may add some liquid peppermint soap to the vinegar solution for a little extra cleaning power. I'll use the same general solution for tile floors, counter tops and bathroom surfaces. For mopping, I use a more diluted vinegar solution.

If you have a yard or container garden struggling with weeds, don't dump your vinegar cleaners down the drain. Vinegar is also an excellent weed killer. I pour it directly on the offending plant, and it starts to wither in a couple days. For particularly hearty weeds, or if it rained, I reapply once a day until I see the weed start to die. Be careful though, vinegar is not discriminatory. It will kill any plants it gets on.

Not only my house gets a good cleaning in the spring. It's the time of year that my family starts to really get outside and get dirty. Running, hiking, soccer and gardening all take their tolls on my families clothes. Using the same short list of ingredients, I sometimes make my own laundry soap as well. For this, I add either plain white bar soap or fels naptha soap. Either will work. The soap must be shredded, so you may want to buy powdered soap instead. Make sure it has no added chemicals or detergents. My recipe is equal parts borax, washing soda and shredded soap mixed together. If you like, you can add a few drops of essential oil. I use the same scoop from commercial laundry detergent to portion my homemade laundry soap.

When I don't make my own laundry soap, or for those who prefer commercial brands, add half a cup of borax and/or washing soda to a load of laundry. It increases the cleaning power of laundry detergent. Borax can also be used to keep fleas, mites, roaches, ants, bed bugs, mice and other pests away. I sometimes use it on stubborn pots and pans as well. Mixing 2 tablespoons borax and 2 cups of water can also be an alternative cleaner for those who don't like the smell of vinegar.

The possibilities are nearly endless. I still experiment with other mixtures. Happy cleaning!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

An Electric Vehicle Charging Station is now open at the Cambridgeside Galleria and is FREE! Good news all around!

(and yes that is the reflection of me taking the photo! ahhh glare! ...but check out my Tom's em.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tomorrow is Ecolissa's Spring Fashion Show

Ecolissa, the best Massachusetts-based eco clothing company, is hosting their spring fashion show in Marlborough! The event is free, but there will be a raffle to benefit Dress for Success!

Ecolissa's Spring 2012 Fashion Show
DruMais Hair Salon
31 Springhill Ave 
Marlborough, MA 01752

Saturday, May 12, 2012 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (ET)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why to Avoid Artificial Fragrances

In almost all of my beauty product reviews on Boston Green Blog, I mention fragrance as a "con". I try to avoid artificial fragrances, and here is why:

-The word "fragrance" on an ingredient list signifies an undisclosed mixture of chemicals. (The industry uses 3,000+ different chemicals to create scents)
-Depending what is in the mixture determines how harmful it is, but there is no way to tell from the label.
-Some fragrance mixtures irritate allergies, and cause respiratory problems.
-Some of the chemical fragrance mixtures have the potential to damage reproductive systems in both men and women.
-"Fragrance" is rated an 8 on the EWG SkinDeep Database - a high hazard.
-A fair amount of research has been done on this topic, and consumer advocates are using this evidence to push for more appropriate labeling (companies do not have to label fragrance ingredients now due to a legal loophole).
-The average parfum is created with 14 different chemicals that are not listed on the ingredient label.

I wouldn't eat something without knowing what it was, so why would I spread something all over my skin, or spray something onto myself without knowing what it is, or what potential dangers it holds?!

image courtesy of

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Korres Wild Rose 24hr Brightening Cream

Pros                                                                             Cons                    
-Effective, fresh, light                                                     -Price ($35)
-No parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, GMOs             -Not available at typical drug stores (try Sephora)
-No dyes                                                                       -Artificial fragrances
-Korres is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics   -Rated a 5 on EWG SkinDeep (Moderate hazard)

Conclusion: This moisturizer feels so refreshing when you put it on. It is nourishing without feeling heavy - which is great for the morning before applying makeup. However, the artificial fragrances bring this product's rating up to a 5 on the EWG SkinDeep Database, and I generally try to stick to products in the 0-2 (low hazard) range. I am happy that Korres is leading the way for other cosmetics companies with its "innovator" status on the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, but this also means that they should know better than to add artificial fragrances to their products. The 5 rating combined with the price means I probably will not purchase the Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturising Cream again. That said, I love Korres products and will keep an eye out for fragrance free lines. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer Event Calendar

I've been updating the Boston Green Drinks - Green Around Town Calendar like crazy! Lots of wonderful sustainability-themed events are on the docket for this spring and summer. Check it out, and please e-mail me ( if something is missing!

image courtesy of

Monday, May 7, 2012

Learning About Renewable Energy at the Museum of Science

This weekend I visited the Museum of Science. I go every few months to see special exhibits like last winter's Pompeii, but it has been a long time since I toured the permanent gallery halls. Obviously, I was thrilled to find a rather large display on renewable energy options in the United States. The exhibit was interactive, kid friendly, and very informative. Definitely check it out next time you're at the MOS!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Green Joke of the Day

Q: What do you call a solar energy spill?

                                                                                                                                  A: A beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: GUD Vanilla Flame™ Natural Nourishing Shampoo

Pros                                                                              Cons              
-Good price ($7)                                                          -Not yet rated on SkinDeep Database
-Smells great                                                                 -Not suited for sensitive scalps
-Foams better than other natural shampoos                    -Non signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics
-No parabens, petrochemicals, or phthalates                 -Contains artificial fragrances
-Not tested on animals 
-Contains many organic ingredients
-Widely available (Target)                  

Conclusion: This product makes my hair clean and shiny and is a great price for a natural product, but I usually prefer shampoos with Tea Tree Oil or other ingredients for scalp care because I have sensitive skin. I could definitely tell that this shampoo did not contain those healing ingredients. While it is a great option for making the tradition from traditional shampoo to natural shampoo (the foaming action is key!), I am ready for a product without artificial fragrances and will probably go back to Hugo Naturals after I finish this shampoo bottle.