1. The Runner’s Dilemma: What to Do With All the Shoes

    Posted on January 31, 2012 by Jacob

    Like the shoe? That’s one of my new running shoes. I’m a little torn as to whether I think they’re hideous or freaking awesome, but this post isn’t really about those shoes, at least not yet.

    Last year I went through three pairs of running shoes. As the year went on, I gradually upped my mileage to the point that I ran 101 miles in October and have averaged more than 60 miles each month since, even though I’m not currently training for something specific. I fully expect to run more miles this year than last meaning I’ll probably go through at least three pairs again this year. While I may be a much thinner and fitter version of the self I was two years ago, I’m carrying a lot of dead weight in old running shoes. Read more…

  2. Meatless Mondays: Sautèed Kale with Dried Plums and Coconut, by Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin

    Posted on January 30, 2012 by Courtney

    We’re thrilled to have Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin back for today’s Meatless Mondays recipe! You can read more about Natalie and her healthy, green recipes over at California Dried Plums.


    1 bunch smooth or curly kale (about 8 ounces)
    1 tablespoon coconut oil
    1 teaspoon brown or yellow mustard seeds
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1/2 cup diced California pitted dried plums
    1  teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
    1/4 cup toasted unsweetened flaked coconut


    1. Remove stems from kale and discard. Cut or tear kale into bite-size pieces; wash and drain (do not dry in a salad spinner; there should be some moisture clinging to the leaves).

    2. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds; when they start to pop, add cumin seeds and toss for a few seconds. Add dried plums, ginger and pepper flakes; after ginger sizzles for a few seconds, add kale.

    3. Cover skillet and cook 3-4 minutes or until kale wilts but is still bright green. Season with salt and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with coconut.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Nutrition Information Per Serving: 153 calories; 0 mg cholesterol; 7.4 g total fat; 5.9 g sat fat; 0.6 g mono fat; 0.5 g poly fat; 0 g trans fat; 100 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3.3 g fiber; 450 mg potassium

    Gold medalist swimmer Natalie Coughlin is the most decorated female athlete of both the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games. Coughlin has won a medal in every single Olympic event that she has ever entered, for a total of 11 Olympic medals. In 2008, she became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad. She is also the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history, with 16 medals. 

  3. A/V Fridays – Why Do You Ride Your Bike?

    Posted on January 27, 2012 by Allie

  4. Scrap: Turning Junk Into Money

    Posted on January 26, 2012 by Mickey

    photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

    I recently found myself at the bottom of an appliance hand-me-down chain, not a bad place to be when you’ve been running a washer/dryer set that’s older than the Colorado Rockies (the baseball team, but perhaps also the geologic feature; they may have faux wood-grain panels, but no obvious signs of glaciation.) Actually, we’re keeping the old dryer because it still works fine, the “new” one reportedly doesn’t do such a hot job, and we hardly use the dryer anyway. The washer sprang a leak a while back, though, so we’ll take the opportunity to snag a free replacement.

    Regardless of our reasoning, I found myself in possession of an unwanted and functionally compromised washer/dryer set. Read more…

  5. Soap, Clean the World, and You

    Posted on January 25, 2012 by Courtney

    Image: care2.com

    From the files of Totally Mundane Things That are Secretly Kind of Amazing, let’s talk about soap. Soap is awesome, right? I like using it, and I appreciate it when others use it. The benefits of soap far outweigh the tiny cost of buying it. I am firmly pro-soap.

    But seriously, soap saves lives, too. According to Clean the World, a charity that provides personal hygiene products to people in homeless shelters and developing countries, every 10 seconds a child dies from a disease that could have been prevented with — you guessed it — soap. And think about how much of the stuff we just throw away. Every time you stay in a hotel, you use only a tiny bit of the soap they provide you in your room. Instead of throwing it out, hotels donate this slightly used soap to Clean the World, where it’s put to good use. It’s a green cause to support because it keeps waste out of landfills in addition to helping people.

    Sounds good, right? And you can contribute soap too, even if you don’t own a hotel. Here’s how:   Read more…

  6. Book Review: A Contract With the Earth by Newt Gingrich

    Posted on January 24, 2012 by Courtney


    Before I get to my review of Newt Gingrich’s 2008 book A Contract With the Earth, let me first say that this post isn’t about politics. I’m not going to write about Gingrich’s presidential campaign or his personal life. While the environment is something that likely will come up for discussion in the months leading up to the election, Gingrich actually goes to great lengths to explain why something as important as our planet should transcend politics. Protecting our environment isn’t up to Democrats or Republicans, or even Americans — it’s up to everyone.   Read more…

  7. Meatless Mondays: Indonesian Fried Rice, by Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin

    Posted on January 23, 2012 by Courtney

    We are thrilled to present today’s Meatless Mondays post courtesy of Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin! You undoubtedly remember Natalie from the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, as well as Dancing With the Stars. She’s also an organic gardener and proponent of healthy eating. Learn more about Natalie and her green lifestyle over at the California Dried Plum Board. We’ll have another recipe from Natalie next week as well!


    3/4 cup chopped onion
    1 serrano chile, chopped
    2 tablespoons California dried plum purée
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon tomato paste
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
    8 ounces firm tofu, diced
    1/2 cup diced California dried plums
    1/2 cup peas
    1/2 cup chopped scallions
    1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
    1/4 cup julienned carrot
    1/4 cup peeled, seeded cucumber cut into thin half-moons


    1. In a food processor or blender, process onion and chile to make a paste.

    2. In a small bowl, whisk together dried plum purée, soy sauce, sugar and tomato paste.

    3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add onion mixture and cook 1-2 minutes. Add dried plum mixture, rice and tofu; stir-fry about 5 minutes or until hot. Add diced dried plums, peas and scallions and stir-fry 2 minutes more.

    4. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates and garnish with peanuts, carrot and cucumber.

    Gold medalist swimmer Natalie Coughlin is the most decorated female athlete of both the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games. Coughlin has won a medal in every single Olympic event that she has ever entered, for a total of 11 Olympic medals. In 2008, she became the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad. She is also the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history, with 16 medals. 

  8. A/V Fridays – Tin Can Lantern

    Posted on January 20, 2012 by Allie

    I love this kid! Such a great tutorial!

  9. How Do You Solve a Problem Like an Old Yoga Mat?

    Posted on January 19, 2012 by Stefanie

    Image credit: madame.furie

    When I signed up for my first yoga class over ten years ago, mat shopping didn’t offer nearly the variety it does today. Plenty of stores sold yoga mats, but I had exactly two choices: solid blue or solid purple. I chose blue, and I’ve tried to remain completely happy with it even as yoga exploded in popularity and the yoga mat industry exploded to match. Sure, I wanted something new and prettier, but I had a hard time justifying ditching my still-perfectly-usable old blue mat just because something fancier caught my eye.

    The past few summers I’ve spent a lot of time in outdoor yoga classes, however—in parks, on bar rooftop patios, and even in parking lots—and as a result, my mat is looking legitimately worse for wear. I could probably try harder to clean it (Yoga Journal recommends adding a few drops of dish soap to two cups of water and rubbing that solution onto your mat with a rag or sponge), but that wouldn’t do anything for the nicks and cuts in the surface. So I went ahead and added a pretty pink flowered yoga mat to my Christmas list this year.

    My new mat is great, and I’d like to keep it that way for a while, so I’m calling that one my indoor mat, and when the temperature consistently rises above 30 again and my yoga practice moves back outside next summer, I’ll still take my old blue mat, now dubbed my outdoor mat, with me.

    What if you’re less of a pack rat and more of a free spirit about dirtying new stuff, however, and you just want to get rid of your old mat instead? Well, in that case, you actually have lots of options.

    Read more…

  10. 6 Amazingly Cheap Products That Will Keep Your Home Clean Naturally

    Posted on January 18, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Edward.

    A clean home is a healthy home. As common sense a statement as you’ll get — doubly so, when one remembers that much of the ill-health of the past came from dirty homes and unsanitary practices. But to get our homes clean these days seems to require rather a lot of specialized cleaning products — so much so that just opening the cleaning cupboard can be something of a health hazard.

    And when you start thinking about all of the various chemicals being sprayed in your house daily, it does add up to quite a cocktail. Is all of that chemical soup, released in your own personal environment, really healthy for you?

    The EPA certainly doesn’t think so. In its discussion on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it noted that inside the average U.S. home are up to five times as many of these nasty compounds than are present outside. And one of the main sources of VOCs is manufactured cleaning products. With VOCs being fingered for problems relating to nausea, headaches, eye/respiratory tract irritation, and even cancer, maybe a healthy home should really start with natural cleaning.

    And using natural cleaning products is a surprisingly easy, and refreshingly cheap, option — just check out this list of the top six natural cleaning tips for your home.  Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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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