Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BGB is Getting a Makeover!

That's right! In a few days, Boston Green Blog will have a whole new look. A very talented friend of mine, Suzanne, has come up with some amazing ideas for the site and I am excited for you guys to see them.

Until the site is unveiled, check out some of Suz's past work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best Dressed at the Emmys

Who wore the most stunning eco-conscious designs to the Emmys? Take a look:

Mindy Kaling Actress Mindy Kaling attends the Fox Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television And FX Celebrates Their 2012 Emmy Nominees at Soleto on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Mindy Kaling accesorized with eco-friendly jewelry by Cathy Waterman

Maria Menounos wore an Oliver Tolentino gown made of pineapple leaf fibers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Skintimate Moisturizing Cream Shave

Pros                                                                          Cons                                      
-Works well on dry skin                                            -Rated 5 (Moderate Hazard) on EWG
-Easy to use bottle                                                     -Contains ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE (hazard)
-Contains some natural ingredients                              -Contains artificial frangrance
-Lasts a long time                                                       -Company conducts animal testing (as of 2009)
-Company has sustainability commitments                   -Contains parabens

Conclusion: I don't usually use shaving cream because I find soap and warm water equally as effective. (See my Eco Friendly Guide to Smooth Summer Legs). I will probably go back to my trusty old soap and water after I finish this bottle of Skintimate, because, despite the moisturizing aspect, the product is not worth the artificial fragrances, aluminum products, and parabens. I do love the new bottle though - much more user-friendly than the old Skintimate bottle design. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

"We Do Care" Bracelets

Recently I received a gift of three Siykatala bracelets from South Africa. Not only are they gorgeous, hand-crafted pieces of jewelry, but they also support impoverished Zulu families. Siykatala means "we do care" in Xhosa. The Siykatala co-op was founded in 1994 and has continued to help Zulu women find sustainable business opportunities. To learn more about Siykatala and their artisans, visit their website.    

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts

Last night one of my good friends invited me to go to the "Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts" lecture with her at Bayridge Women's Residence in the Back Bay. The speaker, Jenny Driver, spoke about the pros and cons of globalization and used case examples of how the global economy's emphasis on profits creates a modern day type of slavery, in which factory workers for major corporations are not paid enough to meet their basic needs.

We watched clips of the film "Behind the Swoosh" which chronicled Jim Keady's mission to bring justice to Nike factory workers in the late '90s. The film was both horrifying and inspiring. It shows both how easy it is to be an ignorant consumer, but also how, as consumers, we have the ultimate power to change practices of big businesses. Nike is, in fact, a success story - Jim Keady's explosive research created a PR nightmare for the sportswear company, and changed their practices as a result.

Following the thought-provoking lecture, there was a discussion in which people shared both positive and negative examples of how the global economy affects people in different countries. It was great to hear from a variety of listeners in an open format. At the wine and cheese reception, we discussed these issues further and pledged to each other that we would try to be conscious consumers. All in all, it was an inspiring night, and I look forward to attending future lectures at Bayridge. Topics in the "Think Deeper" series include:

Why the Push for Assisted Suicide - October 17
The Eye of the Beholder: How Men See Women - November 28
The Art and Science of Happiness - December 5
Food & Politics: How the Food Industry Controls What You Eat - January 16
The Morality of Environmental Protection - February 20
The Skinny on Fat - April 17
What is Regenerative Medicine - May 15

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest Post: How to Safely Dispose of Latex Paint

Today's guest post comes from Crissy Trask of Crissy is a well-renowned green living writer and speaker, and I am thrilled that we were able to collaborate on a post exchange.

The post is how to best dispose of latex paint. As many of you may know, I used to be a lead paint inspector with the EPA, so issues regarding house paint are very near and dear to my heart. We are surrounded by paint - and the chemicals paint is made from can affect our health in unexpected ways - so its always best to be informed.

QUESTION: How should I clean latex paint out of brushes, rollers and trays? Is it better to rinse them off in the sink so the water goes to the treatment facility, or to rinse them off outdoors over the ground so the paint filters through the soil?

ANSWER: Let’s take these two cleaning methods one at a time.

Sink cleaning: As long as the paint is latex (water-based), cleaning your painting tools in the sink and rinsing paint residue down the drain is fine. Waste water treatment facilities are set up for this kind of thing and are capable of removing or neutralizing impurities. Many cities prefer this method because they can control where and how impurities are disposed of.

Outdoor cleaning: Tools used for latex paint can be rinsed outside over the ground using a hose provided there is no risk of the tainted water running off into a storm drain or nearby waterway. This means rinsing them over a hard, impervious surface is definitely a no-no. Rinsing on grass is often best because the blades and roots provide a natural barrier that slows down the movement of water across the ground.
When choosing a suitable clean-up spot, give yourself a buffer of at least 15 feet between where you rinse and any edible plantings (on your property or your neighbors) and 200 feet from a natural water source. Choose relatively soft ground so the water will seep into the ground quickly. As it seeps deeper and deeper into the ground, the soil will naturally filter out impurities.

Before clean-up
Before cleaning painting tools, remove as much paint from them as possible. First brush wet paint out of paint trays and buckets into the original container. Then squeeze as much paint from brushes and rollers as possible. (That curved notch on paint sticks is for scraping paint from a saturate paint roller back into the can.) Clean paint brushes and rollers thoroughly to make sure they will last for years.

Crissy Trask is the founder of and the author of the bestseller It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living. Follow her on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Green Goals Re-Stated

Time to re-commit to my green living goals!

1. Do not accept plastic store bags (BYO instead)

2. Stick to being a weekday vegetarian

3. Unplug all electronics to avoid phantom waste

4. Take cooler, shorter showers

What are your green goals for the rest of 2012? Please share in the comments section!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Green Bloggers Discuss Politics

2012 election button related to green issues
Find out how bloggers feel the November election will affect green living
Alicia of Green Lifestyle Consulting and Leah of Crunchy Farm Baby are hosting a great initiative that invites all green bloggers to share their thoughts and opinions of the upcoming elections. All of these submissions can be read by clicking here

Boston Green Blog will not submit a post because it is an unbiased site, but we encourage all readers to stay informed and keep up-to-date by following the Green Bloggers Discussing Politics initiative. I look forward to reading these articles and making an informed vote come November. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

RRR: Upcycle Old Toys

This is a cute idea - spray paint old plastic figurines and adhere to wood blocks to make one-of-a-kind book ends!

make these with some plastic toys, wood blocks, and spray paint.
image courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Organic Menu Options at Cafeteria Boston

One of Newbury St.'s trendiest bistros is also eco-friendly. Cafeteria Boston has clearly identifiable organic meal options (not to mention numerous vegetarian and gluten free options). All beef and lamb is organic and grass fed, and all chicken is free range. Cafeteria also uses local produce whenever possible.

I went last night and had a glass of white sangria and the fig & goat cheese pizza. It was fantastic! I highly recommend Cafeteria - delicious, affordable, and eco-savvy.

Tray Chic

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kneipp Natural Anti-cellulite System

I recently tried a sample of Kneipp Anti-Cellulite Exfoliating Body Scrub and the corresponding moisturizing body oil. Below is my list of pros & cons of the products.

Pros                                                                           Cons                 
-Exfoliating scrub is a good texture                             -Products not yet rated on SkinDeep Database
-Kneipp committed to holistic concepts                      -Products not widely available in U.S. (try online)
-Most ingredients are natural and plant-based             -Contains artificial fragrances
-Moderate price ($20 each)                                       -I still have cellulite :-(
-Skin feels smoother after daily use of each product    -No commitments regarding packaging
-No parabens or animal testing

Conclusion: Massage and exfoliation are key to reducing the appearance of cellulite - so in order to get the best results, I need to use the oil and exfoliating scrub more often. Luckily, this product is pretty cheap as far as anti-cellulite products go. My main issue with Kneipp is that they still use artificial fragrances in their products despite being a "natural" company. Kneipp has been around for a long time and has made continuous efforts towards sustainability, so hopefully they soon come out with fragrance-free formulations. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Environmental Working Group's Guide to Healthy Cleaning Products

As many of you may know, I often rely on EWG's skindeep database for information about chemicals in beauty products. It is a user-friendly way to find out which cosmetics are toxic and which are safe. Just this week, EWG unveiled its new tool that rates household cleaning supplies! The EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning is an essential database, and I look forward to using it as I do future product reviews!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Vote for Practically Green for MassTLC Leadership Awards

Practically Green, one of my absolute favorite green living sites, is up for a Leadership Award from the Mass Technology and Leadership Council! PG is one of 5 finalists for the Consumer Product of the Year Award.

Check out PG and then Vote for them TODAY!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Transitioning Summer Clothes

There's no need to buy an entirely new wardrobe for fall. That would be wasteful, and totally uncreative! Instead, use these essential items to help transition you summer wardrobe into fun fall outfits.

1. Cardigan. A classic cardigan is the simplest way to wear a summer dress into the fall months.


2. A scarf. Scarves are my fav - they are cute and cover that skin that may no longer be appropriate later in the year - and make all t-shirts work appropriate!

Zebra scarf - have it in yellow!

3. Tights. Don't be afraid of nude nylons! They give an extra layer of warmth and most people won't even be able to tell you're wearing them - trust me. Then, when it really gets cold, switch to grey/brown/black/navy tights.

Colored Nylons....adorable

4. Booties. Skirts and flip flops are on their way out, but booties are perfect for that skirt before you go into knee-high boot mode.

Louie Fringe Booties - Tan

5. Blazer. Like a cardigan, a blazer will not only dress up your look, it will also keep you nice and toasty.


All Images Courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

8th Annual Hub on Wheels

Sunday, September 28th is Hub on Wheels - Storrow drive will be shut down and bikes will take over the city! The ride starts and ends on City Hall Plaza where there'll also be a big celebration.
Register now to participate.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Flying into Fall

It is officially September. Make it a goal to not turn on that AC until next summer! Enjoy the last few weeks of heat. You'll miss it before you know it.

image courtesy of