1. A/V Fridays – STAY Book Trailer & Green Dog Tips

    Posted on June 11, 2010 by Allie

    Okay, so admittedly, the book trailer for STAY has nothing to do with being green. But since STAY is my first novel and I’m super excited, I hope you’ll allow me to veer a little.

    And, to make it up to you, here are some things I do to lower Argo & Stella’s carbon footprint:

    • Look for quality dog food that comes packaged in paper, not plastic.  I feed Stella and Argo Newman’s Own Organics, and love that it’s plastic free.
    • Look for plastic free or low plastic options for leashes and collars when you need new ones, but don’t buy them new ones until you need to.  Argo and Stella both wear hemp martingale collars from EarthDog. There’s only one small piece of plastic on the collar, and they are amazingly durable.  Argo has had his collar since 2007, and Stella has had hers since November 2008.  Neither show any signs of wearing out anytime soon.
    • Clean up after your dog, and dispose of the waste properly.  Composting and doggie septic systems may not be the best option, especially if you live in a colder climate, where the waste may not heat up enough to kill water contaminating bacteria and parasites.  This website has a lot of advice for dealing with pet waste.   Unfortunately, bagging and placing in the trash may be the best option for waste.  And if you do compost pet waste anyway, do not use that compost on food crops.
    • Keep your lawn chemical-free.  Dogs eat grass and love to roll around on a freshly mowed lawn.  Make your lawn as safe as possible for them.
  2. Drinking Locally

    Posted on June 10, 2010 by Stefanie

    Our own Allie Larkin’s debut novel, STAY, hits bookshelves TODAY! In celebration, this week’s posts on The Greenists are inspired by the book.

    In Stay, a heartbroken Savannah (“Van”) Leone finds herself home alone, drowning her sorrows in grape Kool-Aid and vodka. Seven drinks in, lonely, blurry-eyed, and engrossed in an old Rin Tin Tin rerun, Van realizes that what she needs more than anything else at that particular moment is a puppy. Specifically, a German Shepard puppy, from anyplace on the Internet that will sell her one.

    And really, who can question such rock solid, vodka-fueled logic? I mean, haven’t we all been there? Some people drunk dial; other people punch their credit card number into a Slovakian pet adoption site. Me, I’m more apt to get drunk and eat seven or more things I am not even hungry for. Or perhaps to get drunk and feel a little looser with the Facebook comments. Or maybe dance around my living room, arms and legs flailing in a manner not appropriate for public viewing. (OK, so that last one I might have just done a few minutes ago, completely sober. What can I say? Some nights, Gogol Bordello unavoidably demands such a response.)

    I digress. My point is, I can’t fault Van her drunken Internet activity. I can, however, fault her drink of choice. Come on. I haven’t mixed grape Kool-Aid and vodka since the days my dorm-mates and I semi-seriously planned our class schedules around Days of Our Lives and the Jenny Jones show! Van. Honey. You can do better! Please, let me help.

    Read more…

  3. Keeping a Clean, Green, Pet-Friendly Home

    Posted on June 9, 2010 by Courtney

    Our own Allie Larkin’s debut novel, STAY, hits bookshelves this Thursday, June 10. In celebration, this week’s posts on The Greenists are inspired by the book.

    In STAY (which is fantastic, by the way), the main character, Van, does not keep the world’s cleanest home. She’s a cram-everything-in-a-closet-when-company’s-coming-over kind of girl. Pet owners would agree that having a dog in the house doesn’t exactly help keep things cleaner, especially when said dog is an enormous German Shepherd like Van’s dog Joe. But there are things you can do to keep your place from being completely overrun by pet hair and odor. Here are a few green cleaning tips for pet owners:

    1. Brush your dog daily, especially during shedding season. Even short-haired animals will shed. Ideally you should do this outside, and keep the excess hair in a manageable pile before throwing it away. Your doggie will probably enjoy the back-scratching that comes with a good brushing anyway.

    2. Keep pets off the furniture. Create a special place elsewhere for them to lie down and train them to use it. Or, if you like to snuggle up with your pooch on the couch, put a blanket or sheet down first. Once pet hair gets into the fabric of your furniture, it can be hard to get out, so try to keep it from getting there in the first place.

    3. Obviously, you should train your dog to not use the bathroom in the house. However, we all know that accidents happen, especially with puppies. Animals relieve themselves where it smells like they should, so if there’s an accident, clean the carpet thoroughly, or else your pet is likely to go back to that spot. We’ve reviewed many kinds of green pet stain and odor removers; check here and here for examples of effective, eco-friendly cleaning products. (And don’t pick up poop with a non-biodegradable plastic bag. Use paper, or a water-soluble bag that can be flushed down the toilet.)

    4. Wash your hands often. This is mainly for your benefit, not your home’s, but pet hair can carry all kinds of bacteria. Keeping yourself clean goes a long way toward keeping your home clean.

    5. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed. This will keep wood floors from getting scratched as much.

    6. Use stain-resistant, washable fabrics wherever possible. Remember this when picking out bed linens, especially if your pets like to sleep with you.

    7. Vacuum regularly. Can’t get around that one.

    8. Use non-toxic cleaning products when cleaning all parts of your house, not just the parts affected by pets. This goes for laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, dish soap, glass cleaner, surface cleaner, etc. Using eco-friendly cleaning products will lead to better air quality and the kind of clean you can feel good about. That’s healthy not only for your four-legged friends, but for you as well.

  4. Kitty’s Crumble Pet Litter

    Posted on June 8, 2010 by Allie

    Since my novel, STAY, is coming out this week, and Argo is on the cover, the dogs are getting all the attention.  I figured I’d put up a cat post, so the cat doesn’t get jealous and attack me in my sleep,

    The good folks at Kitty’s Crumble Pet Litter sent me a bag of litter for me to test (or, more specifically, for the cat to test).  It costs me all of a few cents to make my own kitty litter.  Anything anyone sends along has to be way better than the litter I make, which performs well and is practically free.  That sets the bar pretty high.

    Kitty’s Crumble beats free litter hands down.  Since this summer is going to be very busy, and I won’t have time to make my own litter, I will be buying this litter once we’ve finished up the bag, and I will feel like it’s money well-spent.   Read more…

  5. Organic Pop Rocks!

    Posted on June 7, 2010 by NPW

    poprocks

    Our own Allie Larkin’s debut novel, STAY, hits bookshelves this Thursday, June 10. In celebration, this week’s posts on The Greenists are inspired by the book.

    Can I just preface this post by saying that I loved Allie’s first book, Stay? I read the whole story in one sitting- I laughed, I cried, and I really rooted for Van, the main character, the entire time. I felt myself wanting to do something to help her out, I wanted to be her friend! Van and I would definitely be buds, grabbing lunch at Wegmans and eating it by the canal while we chatted about that hottie vet Dr. Brandt.

    Ahem. Anyway, throughout Stay Van consumes a ton of junk food. Now, I don’t want to give away too many of the plot points, but who can’t relate to that junk food mania when they’re feeling down? There have been numerous times when my entire dinner has consisted of a whoopie pie, some ice cream, and a can of Diet Coke. Don’t judge.

    As Van’s unofficial friend, I wanted to give her some healthier organic options for her junk food eating ways: I decided that I needed to find a way to make my own organic Pop Rocks. Ambitious, maybe, but I think Van is worth it! So here we go. I found a recipe on how to make homemade Pop Rocks and substituted organic ingredients.

    2 cups organic white sugar
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 cup citric acid crystals (I found these in a store that sells baking supplies)
    a small amount of corn starch
    a small amount of organic corn syrup substitute (I made this myself using this recipe)
    a small amount of water (I used just enough to get all the sugar wet)
    flavoring (I used vanilla, but fruit extracts would work as well)

    I wasn’t sure how these would turn out since commercial Pop Rocks use CO2 to give them that trademark pop. I also had to buy a candy thermometer, something I’ve never used before, so all in all this was quite an adventure.

    Step 1: Combine the sugar, baking soda, water and corn syrup in a pot over medium-high heat. Combine well, and then add the citric acid crystals.

    Step 2: Heat to approx. 300 degrees Fahrenheit, add the flavoring. I added about 2 teaspoons of Mexican vanilla.

    Step 3: Remove mixture from pot to cool. I let it cool on a baking sheet on which I spread a piece of wax paper. I also made sure to pour it in a really thin layer. Once cool, smash into small pieces.I let my four year old godson help me with this part!

    It worked! Apparently when the sugar dissolves and the citric acid and baking soda it creates that fizzy sensation. It didn’t quite make that loud snapping sound like the original Pop Rocks but it was still really fun and actually pretty simple once you have all the ingredients. I’ll definitely be making them again, in honor of Van.

    And also since I have a whole bottle of citric acid crystals now.

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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