Thursday, February 28, 2013

Restaurant Rave: The Fat Radish NYC

 image courtesy of

While in New York City this past weekend, my hostess took me to a trendy dinner spot in the lower east side called The Fat Radish. I fell in love. The decor was cozy and simple and the menu was unique. The restaurant is very vegetarian friendly and specializes in healthy well-sourced food. Instead of serving bread before the meal, they serve radishes with a light drizzle of olive oil - delicious! What really intrigued me was that even in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the U.S., they are serving up lots of items from local farms. Many ingredients come from just outside the city - NY and New Jersey. My friend and I split the celery root pot pie and and the Montauk scallops. Both were incredible....we gobbled most of it up before I got a chance to snap a photo:

So next time you are in NYC, and looking to score points on your Practically Green account by eating at an eco-aware restaurant, check out The Fat Radish - it is now officially on my list of favorite restaurants!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Honest Tea Gets Fizzy

Honest Tea makes some of the most delicious, widely available, organic iced tea products. I especially love their orange mango ade which is slightly less sweet than competing brands. And now they are coming out with a line of sodas called Honest Fizz! Honest Fizz is a naturally sweetened, zero calorie soda that is also USDA organic. The varieties include: Lemon Limey, Orange Pop, Professor Fizz, and Root Beer.

I'm not usually a soda drinker, and I really don't like the taste of diet products. Honest Fizz still tastes a bit diety, but its a great alternative for when you have a soda craving. I'm planning to keep a stash of Honest Fizz in my fridge for just that reason, or for guests. For now, the sodas are sold exclusively at Whole Foods. If you love soda, give them a try. I'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recap: Tufts Environmental Alumni Career Panel

No, I am not a Tufts alum, but it turns out that many of the university's alumni networking events are actually open to the public. Last night the Tufts Environmental Alumni hosted a career panel during which four successful environmentalists shared their experiences and advice. I went with my sister (who actually did go to Tufts) to check it out. The panel included:

Darien Crimmin, VP of Energy & Sustainability for WinnCompanies
Stephen A. Sakakeeny, Principal, SAK Environmental, LLC
Susan L. Santos, Founder & Owner of FOCUS GROUP Consulting
Alison Simcox, Air Quality Scientist, EPA Region 1

Top 5 takeaways from the event:

1. Be a practical visionary. 

2. Asses your skills and then create a plan to execute your vision.

3. Find a practical way to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

4. Do it all; never turn down an opportunity that intrigues you.

5. Become a master of rational scientific thought. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Last week I discovered the tool Walkscore as highlighted on the Planet Southie blog. Walkscore rates locations on a scale of 1-100 based on ability to walk to grocery stores, restaurants, drug stores, entertainment, etc. This allows users to gauge the transportation footprint of a neighborhood before moving there. My apartment address in the North End scored a 100% which was exciting. Though, I wasn't too surprised, I walk everywhere! My childhood home in the suburbs north of Boston scored a mere 8%! This must be why I love living in the city so much. Definitely check out Walkscore and play around - its an interesting way to see what your transportation needs are compared to other places.

image courtesy of

Thursday, February 21, 2013

ePantry: Proof that Green Living is Easy Living

My friend and Just Us Gals co-author, Suzanne, recently told me about the California start-up ePantry (FUN FACT: though this company is based in San Francisco, its roots can be traced back to MA: the founders met at Amherst College). The idea behind ePantry is similar to Peapod by Stop & Shop, except that ePantry specializes in delivering green household products (ie. sustainable toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap, etc.) straight to your home depending on your needs and schedule.

You may be wondering how this is more sustainable than going out to buy the eco-products yourself. Well, how many times have you gone into CVS to pick up partyware or paper towels just to find that the most sustainable option has run out or is not available? This happened to me just last week! I ran out to pick up some plates for my Valentines Day Soiree (I don't have enough reusable plates in my tiny apartment for 15 people), and I was hoping to pick up a corn-based biodegradable option, or maybe plain paper - but no - the only option was styrofoam (YUCK!). Needless to say, I made my guests share my reusable plates because I refused to by styrofoam. ePantry is a simple way to avoid this issue. By using ePantry you can make sure your home always has the right amount of sustainable, safe supplies. I look forward to joining, and never having to run out at 8:00am on a Sunday to pick up (unrecycled) toilet paper!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Glitter Guide's List of Earth-Friendly Cosmetics

A friend of mine (an avid blog reader) recently sent me this Glitter Guide post about eco-aware beauty brands. Expecting it to be the same-old list I always read on eco-beauty blogs, I was pleasantly surprised when the list featured some brands I haven't heard of (or tried) yet! I now consider this Glitter Guide post my new shopping list!! (Although, it looks like some of the products might not be wallet-friendly...but I at least need to hit Whole Foods and read the labels).

Look out for upcoming cosmetics reviews!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Green Blog Spotlight: The Green Life Online

The Green Life Online is one of my favorite Boston-based green living websites because it has a long-established history of bringing sustainability awareness to the masses. I first heard about the site after meeting their coordinator, Jeff, at Boston Green Drinks a few months ago. The Green Life was founded in 1990 and its mission is to "help the growing number of environmentally aware, health conscious Americans make informed lifestyle decisions. Through education, outreach and advocacy, we support a consumer-driven movement toward sustainable consumption, while guarding against corporate greenwashing." The blog focuses on consumer knowledge and informs people about scams that are associated with some "green" products. The blog also features some great editorial material, with current articles about eating locally in the winter months, organic cosmetics, and of course a guest post by yours truly about pina fiber. Definitely add The Green Life to your list of eco must-reads!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Green Boutique: Twelve Chairs

image courtesy of

Earlier this week I attended an event at the Twelve Chairs boutique in the Seaport District and I am in love. Twelve Chairs is a super-chic home goods store with an Anthropologie-esque vibe, but the reason I love it is that all of their products must meet certain sustainability and humanitarian criteria! One of the store's co-founders, Miggy Mason, is LEED AP which shows their commitment to offering Boston responsible products for home interiors. Their merchandise must all meet the following standards: 

- Local Business - The product is designed by a company within the USA or Canada. 
- Locally Manufactured - The product is produced within the USA or Canada. 
- Locally Sourced - The materials used to manufacture the product are sourced from within 
  500 miles of the production site. 

- Nontoxic - The inks, dyes, and/or finishes used in the creation of the product have
  minimum impact on the planet and are not harmful to people.
- Organic - The materials used to create the product are Certified Organic.     

- Recycled/ Reclaimed - The materials used to make the product previously existed. 
- Recyclable/ Biodegradable - At the end of its current use, the product can be used again 
  or decomposed.  
- Renewable - The materials used to create the product are from natural, renewable

- Values Driven Company - The company that produces the product demonstrates
  a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. 
- Responsible Production/ Manufacturing - The methods used to produce the product
  are focused on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and worker protection. 
- Fairly Traded - The people that create the products are paid a fair, living wage and there 
  is a commitment to social and environmental standards. 
- Responsible Distribution - The product is shipped in a manner that minimizes waste 
  and carbon emissions.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Just Us Gals Boston" Launch

I am very excited to announce my new project: Just Us Gals. I've teamed up with my friends Suzanne (web designer & DIY expert) and Meredith (real estate broker & stylista) to create a new blog designed for specifically for the ladies of Boston. I hope to be the green voice of the blog, while also writing about some of my other passions like art, books, and cultural events. So if you ever get tired of reading my green living tips, definitely go check out Just Us Gals for some fun and feminine posts!

Just Us Gals

If you like it, follow us on the following platforms:
Twitter: JustUsGalsBos
Pinterest: JustUsGalsBos
Instagram: JustUsGalsBos

I'd love to hear any comments, suggestions, or questions about the new blog!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kids learn about local waterways with "e" inc.

Children at the Warren Prescott K-8 School in Charlestown will discover local waterways and aquatic ecosystems this winter and spring. "e" inc., an environmental nonprofit organization, will introduce the school kids to the secrets of the urban underwater world surrounding the city. Along the way, they'll learn how Boston manages its watersheds and how they can prevent water scarcity at home. I wish they had this program when I was a kid! Sounds like a fun way to learn about your surroundings.

"e" inc.'s past initiatives have been very successful,  increasing students' science test performance by 60% in 2012. All of "e" inc.'s day school programs are orientedtoward encouraging kids to take environmentally positive actions atschool and at home.

The program is sponsored by Massport and is offered at no cost to the school.

 This first grader, Grazyella, shows us her diagram of the ocean floor. She is participating in the program at Winter Hill Community School. 
Photo by Margaret Kent

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NEWIEE Mentorship Program

New England Women in Energy and the Environment is a group of accomplished professionals working for environmental sustainability in both the public and private sectors across the northeast. The group is a non-profit that provides business networking, education, mentoring, leadership, career development, and social opportunities for New England's female executives, engineers, consultants, attorneys, academics, policy makers, and other professionals with an interest in energy and/or environmental issues.

NEWIEE recently launched  a new mentoring program!  The goal is to create one on one matches or mentoring groups to allow women from all stages of their careers to come together and learn from those with different levels of experience.  If you are interested in either becoming a mentor, or a mentee, CLICK HERE  to fill out a survey.  There will be a kick-off event for the mentoring program in late March.  Responses to the survey will allow NEWIEE organizers to match compatible mentors with mentees. Please contact Jennifer Bernazani-Ludlum at with any questions about the mentoring initiative or this survey.

I am really thrilled about this program and recently filled out the survey myself! I am looking forward to the many learning opportunities that would come with participating.

image courtesy of

Monday, February 11, 2013

Show the earth your love with green valentines

Valentines Day is a potentially wasteful holiday - individually wrapped candies, cards, envelopes, etc. But Valentines Day is such a fun time to celebrate your loved ones, so this year, lets explore some green ways to show our love and appreciation!

One such option is Delightfully Valentines. For $3, Delightfully provides an awesome "present opening" experience that uses absolutely no paper and is handled completely online. You visit the site, either enter in your gift (ex., "A Home-Cooked Dinner for Valentine's Day") or buy a gift card on the site. Then,  electronically "wrap" it using either a collage of pictures or a photo puzzle. Next, your Valentine receives notification that their gift is waiting and when they visit the site, receive the experience of putting together a puzzle or sifting through photos to reveal what you've planned for them. So much better than saying, "Honey, the reservation is at 8," and so much greener than a Hallmark card at CVS.

Another option is to give potted plants rather than bouquets. Potted plants last much longer and can help improve indoor air quality. Your valentine is sure to enjoy having a permanent decoration rather than a fleeting piece of beauty.

Finally, try making homemade treats instead of purchasing individually wrapped candy that has likely been shipped across the country. Try your hand at making fudge, cookies, or brownies for a personalized sweet treat that shows more thought and effort than a candy bar! Or personalize an everyday item for a cute surprise - like a sticker on an organic apple:

image courtesy of

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Planning for a Green Weekend in NYC

At the end of the month I am heading down to the Big Apple to attend the Gold Gala event for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (donate to the cause by clicking here). Before packing, I am making a plan to make my trip as sustainable as possible:

New York city
image courtesy of

1. Make a packing list, and check it twice (don't want to have to buy an extra toothbrush or deodorant!)

2. Get to town in a sustainable method. Take a bus or train down to NYC, and opt for the subway instead of a cab.

3. Pack light. Light-as-possible bags reduce the amount of fuel needed for a bus/cab.

4. Tell the clerk: "no receipts". What is a trip to NYC without a little shopping? Reduce paper consumption by skipping the receipt.

5. Pack a day bag wisely. Don't go out without bringing a reusable shopping bag and a drink tumbler/mug.

6. Choose eco-aware restaurants and boutiques, and eat vegetarian on the trip.

7. Plan the day out ahead of time to avoid unnecessary travel.

8. Think twice before purchasing anything.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: St. Ives Deep Restoring 24 Hour Moisture Body Lotion

Pros                                                               Cons             
-Effective, long lasting moisturizer                    -Rated 5 (moderate hazard) on EWG SkinDeep
-Great price, $5                                              -Contains artificial fragrances
-Widely available                                            -Term "100% natural" used on packaging (greenwashing)
-Besides fragrance, all ingredients rated
    4 or below
-Large bottle, lasts a while
-No parabens/phthalates

Conclusion: I am pleasantly surprised by this product. I am always wary of items that claim they are "100% natural" because the word "natural" doesn't have a standardized meaning - so its difficult to tell what this 100% claim is all about. This greenwash-sounding claim combined with the low price of the product had me ready to believe that it wasn't sustainable, but I was quite pleased with St. Ives after doing a little research. Though their products use artificial fragrance (grrr!), the company has a thorough commitment to health and the environment. St. Ives is committed to sourcing from sustainable vendors, using post-consumer recycled material for their packaging, and making sure all of their products are paraben free. This product may not be the absolute greenest on the market, but it is definitely the best choice for the price range! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Local EcoFashion: GreenLine by K

Sleeveless Bow Back Top with Open Back in Crisp White Cotton - Spring Collection - Size M

I recently learned about  GreenLine by K, a small clothing company based in Mashpee, MA. Their new spring line just came out last week, which features some great pieces (pictured) - and by purchasing one of these items, not only are you supporting a local business, you are also supporting its charity affiliates including the Starfish Project (helps improve the lives of exploited women in Asia) and Habitat for Humanity Cape Cod. GreenLine by K features natural and organic materials, and fair trade accessories. Definitely something to consider next time your wardrobe needs a revamp!

Shoulderless Caftan Shirt with Built-In Cami in Lightweight Jersey Knit/Color Papyrus - Size M

Extra Large/Over Sized Natural Jute Tote with Gold Polka Dot Print and Brown Jute Bottom

Friday, February 1, 2013

Green Goal: Unplug Your Workout

Unplugging my workout has been on my list of green lifestyle goals for a while. In warm weather it is easy to skip the energy-intensive gym machines and go for a run outside, play tennis, or hit the North End pool for some laps, but in the midst of a New England winter, options seem to decline. Luckily, North End Yoga  is currently having a promotion for new members: $30 for 30 days of almost unlimited classes! Yoga is a great way to unplug, unwind, and shape up. I am excited to get started!

up dog