1. Fight Dry Winter Skin with Homemade Scrubs

    Posted on February 29, 2012 by Courtney

    Around here, it hasn’t really felt like winter lately. It’s been around 60 degrees in Atlanta, which feels great, but kind of freaks me out — I like the seasons to behave normally! Plus, it makes me worried that this summer is going to be more unbearably hot than usual. Ah, the joys of erratic weather patterns.

    But even though it’s felt like spring, my skin still wants to believe it’s winter, and that means it gets dry and chapped easily. Here to help with some homemade beauty products today is Erica Katz, the author of Bonding Over Beauty, A Mother-Daughter Guide to Self-Esteem, Confidence and Trust. From product and styling tips, such as how to create the perfect ponytail, to at-home recipes for creating an organic facial scrub, Erika explores it all in her book, in which she includes her own experience as well as information from interviews with top beauty experts.

    Here are a few beauty product recipes Erica has to share!  Read more…

  2. I Am Not a Perfect Greenist

    Posted on February 28, 2012 by Jacob

    This post isn’t about tips or advice for how you can become more green yourself. This is public confession of areas where I fall short of my own ideals. Maybe by admitting my problems I can find the motivation to improve my performance.

    1. I use too many plastic utensils. This is one flaw that is actually more of a character flaw than a failing of my Greenist ideals. I am a forgetful person and I also find it difficult to develop and maintain habits. I take my lunch with me to work daily and I use reusable containers for this. My water bottle and travel coffee cup are also reusable. For some reason, however, I struggle to remember to throw in a fork or spoon from the kitchen drawer while packing my bag in the mornings. I started to develop the habit in December, but then the vacation days of Christmas intervened and I ended up back at square one having to use my emergency stash of, and later raiding the cafeteria for, plastic utensils. This is insanely frustrating. There’s not even a real reason to need the plastic in this case. It’s easier to remember the metal fork and take it home to wash than it is to go hunt down plastic in the 20 minutes I have for lunch each day. The real forks and spoons work better. Luckily, I have gotten back into the swing of things lately, but all it will take is the next vacation for this to become a problem again.
    2. I use paper towels excessively. Unlike problem #1, which was really more about my forgetfulness than it was about my status as a Greenist, I secretly prefer paper towels over dish towels. They wipe up liquids better. They don’t start stinking by the next day. I don’t have the image of rampaging microbes dancing in the back of my mind while I use paper towels. They’re already right there on the counter. That’s probably part of the problem.
    3. I have three refrigerators, a 3-foot-tall freezer and a 6-foot-tall freezer in my house. We don’t even use the  third fridge or the small freezer. That’s a crap ton of wasted electricity, and part of it is just because I’m too lazy to get rid of the unused appliances. We do need more than just the one refrigerator, though. We get a lot of fruit and vegetables from the garden and local farms in the summer to freeze for the year and we also buy a local hog or cow on a regular basis to last us for months so we don’t buy as much industrially farmed meat. And don’t ask me to give up my beer fridge. That one is normally full.
    Of course, now that I’ve admitted my flaws, I’ve done no good if I don’t make a plan to improve in those areas. The plastic utensils are a work in progress, and one that has already progressed well. As for the paper towels, I need to just suck it up and use cloth more often. I can perhaps find a spot in the kitchen for our kitchen towels instead of their spot in the bathroom closet to make them more accessible. As for the small freezer and the fridge, I really just need to donate them both to the local mission store. They both work and both could be put to good use by someone else. Now I just need to find a date on the calendar where I have enough time to actually do that.
    I know I can improve in these areas, and several others, but this Greenist thing is a process. I didn’t expect to go from nothing to an elite runner when I started running two years ago. I was 60 lbs. overweight and hadn’t run more than a few yards at a time in almost 10 years at the time. I had to work to where I am today, 40 lbs. lighter and much faster, but still far from an elite distance runner. I want to keep improving. I continuously raise the bar for my running goals and look for ways to make myself faster, fitter. In my opinion, being a Greenist works the same way.
    Anyone else have any faults they’d like to own up to?
  3. Meatless Mondays: Autumn Vegetable Curry, by Food Network’s Ellie Krieger

    Posted on February 27, 2012 by Courtney

    Ellie Krieger — host of the Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” now on the Cooking Channel — believes that no food is ever off-limits. With a philosophy of “usually-sometimes-rarely”, Krieger is all about incorporating your favorite foods into a healthy lifestyle. A registered dietician, she has created Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy, a collection of healthy versions of comfort food classics. Krieger provides 150 recipes — some of which are vegetarian, others that contain meat — but all without the calories and saturated fat.

    There are recipes for breakfast, brunch and baked goods; snacks and starters; soups and sandwiches; meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian main dishes; sides and salads; and desserts. Each recipe contains complete nutrition information and calorie counts along with a side-by-side comparison of the healthy version of the recipe versus a typical version of the recipe. You’ll be amazed at how simple substitutions can dramatically reduce both the caloric content of these recipes as well their saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol counts, while increasing healthy nutrients and antioxidants – all without sacrificing flavor and the comfort food experience that we’ve all come to expect from these classic dishes.

    We’re happy to have Krieger providing one of her meatless dishes for this week’s Meatless Mondays post! This golden stew is a vegetable treasure, brimming with carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, and chickpeas, all simmered with intoxicatingly fragrant curry spices in a coconut milk-enriched broth. Pureeing the onion, garlic, and spices relieves you of a lot of chopping, so you can get right to the heady aroma of them cooking in the pot. It’s kept optimally healthy by using light coconut milk and skipping the heavy clarified butter found in many curries.   Read more…

  4. What’s Going On

    Posted on February 24, 2012 by Allie

    INHABITAT highlights the Google Sea View program.

    Tiny Choices repurposes jars.

    Blogfish talks toilet to tap water recycling.

    The Daily Green shares the conservation legacy of Rutherford B. Hayes.

    greenUPGRADER showcases amazing junk mail art.

    The Green Life has a roundup of zombie species.

    The Good Human talks about the lifespan of rechargeable batteries.


  5. Greenists to Funky Pits: Bring It.

    Posted on February 23, 2012 by Mickey

    If there’s one thing that gets a Greenist’s attention, it’s armpit talk. Do a search on this site for “deodorant” and you’ll get 20 posts that at least mention the word, most featuring intimate details.

    Let’s make it 21. Blackjack!

    The brave quest for inoffensive yet chemical-free and environmentally sound underarms almost seems like a right of passage for folks who already take their own bags to the supermarket and carry a reusable water bottle and are looking for the next step. But when it comes to B.O. as opposed to, say, shampoo or toothpaste, many people draw the line. I’ve gotten the sense over the years that there are a lot of people out there making their own yogurt and raising chickens in suburban coops yet steadfastly refusing to forgo the toxic cocktail they smear in their pits, because a hippie is one thing, but a smelly hippie is a whole different level of commitment and ostracism. Read more…

  6. 7 Crazy Ways to Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags

    Posted on February 22, 2012 by Courtney

    It happens to every Greenist from time to time: You arrive at the grocery store to do some shopping, take a look at the stuff in your cart, and realize: You forgot your reusable bags. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Sometimes the bags are in the trunk of my car and I just need to dash out and get them; other times I’ve left them at home, which means it’s time to admit defeat and let the bagger put my stuff in those forsaken plastic grocery bags.

    Of course you know that you can recycle those plastic bags — most grocery stores have recycling bins out front to collect them. I also reuse them to line the small trash cans around my home. But if you’re looking for other ways to reuse your stash of plastic bags, here are a few ideas:  Read more…

  7. 10 Ways to Conserve Water in Just a Minute

    Posted on February 21, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Jessica Arinella, creator/writer/producer of the What You Can Do series.

    My friends know that I suffer from something I refer to as ISD — or Impending Sense of Doom. You may recognize this feeling of hopelessness when you see an image of a polar bear hanging off the edge of a rapidly melting iceberg. With so many concerns from hunger to ocean pollution, it’s hard to know how to make a positive impact on our world. And one critical challenge that really gets my ISD going is water conservation.

    While our planet is covered in water, only one percent of it is suitable for human use. Some experts even believe that water could become as scarce as oil in the not-so-distant future. And the EPA estimates by 2013, 36 of the 50 states could be facing water shortages.

    The good news is there are many easy ways to save water. As I believe action is the only cure for ISD, I created a project called What You Can Do, a series of 60-second videos to show how to help our world’s most important issues. Below are some of our favorite ideas and episodes on water conservation:   Read more…

  8. Meatless Mondays: Vegetable Risotto, by Kids Who Love to Cook

    Posted on February 20, 2012 by Courtney

    We love it when kids get on board with healthy eating! That’s why we’re happy to share this week’s Meatless Mondays recipe courtesy of Kids Who Love to Cook, a web series that takes you inside the kitchens of seven real-life kids who are taking their health into their own hands. It encourages kids ages 8 to 16 to appreciate good food while teaching important life lessons about budgeting, measuring, creativity, and being able to adapt when faced with challenges. These are all lessons that are important for a green lifestyle as well!

    Pop on over to kidswholovetocook.com to watch the series for yourself! Meanwhile, kid chef Abby had this to say about today’s recipe:

    “Everyone is intimidated about making risotto. Like, as if there’s some mythical way of cooking it, and after watching the show Top Chef where even professional chefs were eliminated because the judges said they didn’t know how to make a proper Italian risotto, I was even more scared to do it. … Risotto, if you know the rules, is actually easy to cook once you’ve assembled the ingredients that you need, including the broth. It takes all of 12 minutes to cook risotto if using Vialone Nano rice, 15 minutes for Arborio rice. … To show how real Italian risotto should be cooked, we invited Roberto Deiaco, who is the executive chef of Armani Ristorante 5th Avenue. You can’t get a better expert than him to teach us kids how to make risotto. … And even if Chef Roberto works at a fancy restaurant in New York City, we agreed to make a simple vegetable risotto so that the ingredients are easily available. But this is no ordinary vegetable and rice dish, cuz I never tasted anything as delicious! It was a new experience, and I was very surprised how rice and vegetables could taste this good. The rice was super creamy — try to use look for Vialone Nano rice. … So, the rules for making a real Italian risotto: it should be fluid and easily spread on a plate. What Italians call all’onda. It is not a sticky mound of piled up rice, cuz that’s rice pudding. Risotto should be al dente, meaning firm to the bite, and it should be served and eaten immediately, as soon as it’s cooked! … Chef Roberto also said to wash all the vegetables before cooking!”  Read more…

  9. A/V Fridays – Apartment Gardening

    Posted on February 17, 2012 by Allie

  10. The Baking Soda and PeroxideTrick

    Posted on February 16, 2012 by Stefanie

    Are you guys addicted to Pinterest yet? There’s a lot of that going around lately. So many great ideas! So little chance I will implement ANY of them! A few weeks ago I saw an idea I did decide I should try, however. It was a post proclaiming the wonders of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make old cookie sheets look like newish. My own cookie sheets have definitely seen shinier days, so I mixed up a paste of baking soda and peroxide and tried to go to town. And it… sort of worked. If I really cared more about the state of my cookie sheets, I probably could have scrubbed and scrubbed with that concoction and maybe eradicated at least the most recent few years of ugly, baked-on crud. But you know what? I don’t. I’ve used my cookie sheets, so they look used. And I’m OK with that.

    My glass baking pan, however? That one I haven’t given up on. And yet, I foolishly used that pan to broil a piece of salmon the other night rather than using the black metal roasting pan that’s actually designed for such a thing. And hence, I ended up with some burned-on stains on the bottom of the pan that weren’t coming off with plain dish soap and a scrubber sponge. So I tried the baking soda and peroxide mixture in there, and you know what? That actually worked! Hurrah. Ditto on my black nylon spatula and spaghetti server, both of which have had a weird white residue on them (Hard water stains? Dishwasher detergent? No idea…) for years now. A little scrubbing with the soda/peroxide paste, and that residue’s all but vanished. Magic!

    I was trying to remember why I bought the bottle of peroxide I have stashed under my sink in the first place, so I did a quick search of The Greenists archives and remembered. It was this post, written by Courtney a year and a half ago already. Have I tried a single one of those five unusual uses for hydrogen peroxide since I first read them? Apparently not. But I will now! Maybe I’ll even pin them to a Pinterest board to be extra sure I don’t forget. Maybe you should, too!

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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