Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Real Great Pumpkin (what to do about all that candy)

You want your kids to enjoy Halloween and to take part in celebration, but you don't want to overdose them on sugar, toxic dyes in candy, gmos, etc.,  And all the bouncing off the walls and upset stomachs, potential disintegration following trick or treating and that rush of sugar.  There is a wonderful solution to this.

 Put the candy out for the Great Pumpkin!  Your child picks out 2-4 pieces to keep, puts the rest in a paper bag out on the porch, and in the morning the GP has swapped it out for a small gift.  It's very exciting.  It could be a fun book, a healthier treat, a small toy, you never know what he's going to leave.  This tradition has been so fun for us and there's no sugar meltdown or continued sugar issues.   Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SteriPEN Helps out with Hurricane Sandy

SteriPEN is lending a helping hand to people in need of clean drinking water.  How cool is that?  I've said before that everyone should keep a SteriPEN in their emergency kit, you just never know what might happen to your water supply.  I think it's wonderful that they are reaching out to those hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Follow them on FB or contact them for help.

"We at SteriPEN wish those affected by Hurricane Sandy well. Tremendous aid efforts have all ready begun and more help is on the way.

SteriPEN staff is enroute to New York & New Jersey to contribute to Hurricane Sandy aid efforts in affected areas. If you, family or friends are in need of safe drinking water, please let use know. We may be able to help. We will provide updates starting tomorrow on Facebook and

If you would like to help us provide product donations, emergency kits, contact us at the addresses listed below. You can send us a private message on Facebook or"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fabulous prAna Yoga Tops

prAna has fantastic yoga clothing that also works as great street and travel wear.  Here are two tops that are super comfortable, allow full mobility, and pack down small without getting wrinkled.  The fabric is fast drying and you could easily wash them in a hotel sink if need be. I think they look great with jeans and skirts with a little hoodie.

Check out the Abi Top in that dreamy Purple Pixel.  Isn't that gorgeous?  Pairs great with black pants or a black skirt and has a built in shelf bra.  Comfy soft recycled poly, and a beautiful watercolor pixel print make this top shine.

The Quinn Top has feminine lines, is really pretty around the neck, and comes in many colors and patterns.  It is made with recycled materials, is very soft, and has a shelf bra for support. 

They say purple is the color of wisdom.  For me it is soothing and refreshing at the same time and I especially love it paired with calming blues.  Prana offers several fabrics with these and other mood enhancing colors and I don't think that's an accident.  I think they put a lot of effort into color and pattern--both tops featured here are almost mandala-like. 

I love these tops so much I ordered a few on Amazon--they have incredible prices on prAna right now with tops as low as under ten bucks and dresses under twenty.  Time to stock up!  What brilliant inspiration for maintaining your yoga routine throughout the holidays.  You can find a bigger selection HERE on prAna's site. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Children's Film About Factory Farming

Today is Food Day, and the makers of Wallace and Gromit and the Humane Society released Chicken Tail, a children's film about factory farming.  Most kids have a natural connection with animals and already feel a strong sense of compassion.  They don't want animals to suffer.  There is a huge disconnect between loving animals and killing and eating them.  Most people would never think of eating their pets but are happy to eat a pig.  A lot of folks, not just kids, don't fully compute that "ham" equals pig and what had to happen to get it on their plate. 

I can't help but feel this film is even more for adults than for children, but it would be a good way to attempt to explain factory farming.  Of course those conditions are so horrid that it can't be depicted in a kids film, but there are allusions to a dreadful life and in the end, a message of hope that humans will figure it out and go back to the old school farming methods offering more dignity to both animal and farmer.  It's great for opening up some dialogue on the topic.  Watch it for free HERE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gear Up for Holiday Travel with Eagle Creek

Got travel plans for the holidays?  The right luggage can make a trip so much better and easier.  Check out Eagle Creek's new Adventure Upright 22.  This is a great carry on bag to meet your holiday travel needs.  With baggage feees, not to mention what a pain it is to check bags, the lines, the waiting, the hassle and the risk of losing your things.  You've heard the saying there are two kinds of luggage:  carry on and lost?  If you carry on, you save money and are guaranteed to have your stuff with you when you arrive. 

A great carry on piece glides along with you and offers some good organization.  Eagle Creek is famous for their organizational offerings and while they do offer travel cubes, their luggage has some built in features that are a huge help.  The Adventure Upright is easy to maneuver, comfortable to grip and features several compartments to help you organize like the two pouches on the inside of the lid great for socks and undergarments,  and behind those is a large sort of secret compartment (not evident at first glance).  Compression straps are there to cinch everything down tight and maximize space. There's a big pouch on the outside that fits a laptop or iPad--though I would put it in a padded sleeve first--it's right there within easy reach to take out for security. 

Another awesome feature is the piggyback clip.  This lets you attach your purse, backpack, or other piece to the wheelie for ease of transport and to free up your hands.  Even my straw beach bag clips right on perfectly and it's just really nice to have this extra capability.  Zippers are lockable and have reflective material on the pulls.   There are grab handles all over this bag that help you during transport in and out of overheads, taxis, and whatnot.  An attached luggage tag ensures your name stays with the bag, though I still recommend attaching one of those airline tags you can pick up for free the counter as well.  The wheels are beefy and capable of going over rough terrain.  If you've ever had a wheel go out on you while trekking through cobblestone streets on your way to the train, you'll know how important this is.  This bag is not just for home to airport to hotel, it will go wherever you need it to go. 

My favorite thing about this bag is its ability to expand.  I love this feature and always use it at the end of a trip.  Even if you don't buy stuff on your travels, this affords you the luxury of just tossing everything in a rush if need be--stuff never goes back in as neatly as when you first pack it, at least not for me.  There's a zipper that when unzipped allows you 15% more packing space, all bags should have this ability and after getting used to this, I really wouldn't want to travel with one that didn't.

Eagle Creek backs up their product 100%.  If anything ever goes wrong with your luggage, no matter where you are, they will fix it or replace it.  This is awesome and makes their products an investment.  You can pick up cheap bags but they don't last and they tend to fail you at really inconvenient moments.  The Adventure Upright is a quality bag that is perfect for holiday travel and way beyond.  It comes in black, sienna, and olive.  Find it HERE

Friday, October 19, 2012

Get Ready for Dia De Los Muertos

Don't you love Autumn?  Beautiful trees, hot apple cider, and two fabulous holidays.   Halloween, and Dia De Los Muertos, aka, Day of the Dead.  Since most of you are already super familiar with Halloween, I'll tell you how we celebrate Dia de los Muertos at our house.  It's a holiday to honor our friends and relatives who have died.  Sometimes we have guests, sometimes we don't, but every year we set up an ofrenda (an altar with favorite foods of the deceased, photos, flowers, etc), make some yummy organic Mexican food, and tell stories about loved ones that have passed on.

It's such a beautiful holiday and really makes me feel more comfortable with something we rarely talk about in American culture--death.  It's a way to celebrate those we love that have passed and doesn't it just make you feel better to think there will be a party for you every year with a few of your favorite things?  I think it's brilliant.

You can read about how to make an ofrenda HERE.  And you can find some fabulous decorations and supplies at, which is a wonderful source for all things Day of the Dead including information, inspiration, and beautiful photos (like the one above and to your left). Check out those awesome sugar skull cookies pictured above, wouldn't it be fun to make those?

One note about food--please be sure to get organic corn products as most non-organic corn products are genetically modified.  We generally use all organic foods beans, limes, tortilla chips, tomatoes, cilantro, chocolate, etc. and are lucky to live somewhere where these things are readily available.  I know not everyone has access, so just making sure the corn products are organic is a great place to start.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Marmot Sassy Jacket

Marmot's Sassy Jacket is a must-have for Fall.  This jacket combines fashion with technology and this makes for a coat that looks smashing and does the job, really well.   The fit is super figure flattering, with detailing in the back for nice lines.  The sleeves have zippers and the overall look is quite feminine and sleek. 

It's ideal for travel and even has an inner pocket designed specifically for tickets.  On the opposite side is a zippered stash pocket.  It looks so cute with jeans and boots and would be fine for the office or the trails.  The hood is nice and wide and has a visor for extra protection.

The Sassy combines DriClime and Marmot MemBrain technology, the former a fabric that wicks moisture away and the latter keeps it breathable and eliminates condensation chill.  This coat will keep you warm and dry.  It uses Marmot's two layer construction which is soft and pliable, it feels warm, but it's very light weight.

This sizing is on the small side.  I am typically a medium size 8/10 and sized up to a large with this jacket and it fits perfectly with room for bulky sweaters and fleece.  I love that the sleeves are not too long, sometimes when you size up the sleeves are way too long and throw off the whole look.

Marmot's designers did a fabulous job with this great all around coat, highly recommend it and I warn you that after wearing this, you're apt to go back for another color.  Bring on the rain!   Hint:  REI carries this jacket and has a 20% off coupon right now, or you can go directly to the Marmot site to pick one up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trader Joe's has Kale Chips!!

Wooohooo!  I can't tell you how excited I was to see that Trader Joe's now has kale chips!  They are nacho flavored, and they're quite good.  And, they are $4 a bag, which is not bad for kale chips.  They're raw and the packaging will appeal to kids.  I wish they would make them Organic though, maybe if we all send an email they will consider it?  Still, major kudos to TJ's!!

Another thing they have now that I'd been waiting forever for is coconut oil, and it's organic, affordable and good.  I am the biggest fan of Trader Joes, bringing organic healthy food power the people.  Yay Trader Joe's!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nemo's Ingenious New Spoon Sleeping Bags

Nemo has done it again--put me in a swoon over one of their brilliant designs.  Check out the new spoon sleeping bags, they're beautiful and they are as innovative as I've come to expect from Nemo.  The spoon shape sets them apart from other bags and introduces a new level of comfort.

It took me a while to get used to the mummy style sleeping bag and for years I resisted them altogether which left my choices very limited.  That small mummy foot box made me feel claustrophobic and that bothered me.  But I did eventually get used to them and realized I could still change sleeping positions, the bag just had to change with me.

With this spoon shaped Nemo bag, you don't feel at all constrained.  Your knees and legs are free to shuffle about as much as they want and it really feels big in there, plenty of room.  I slept in 50 degree weather in the Harmony 25 and stayed warm, cozy and comfortable all night.  It's a very light weight bag, filled with Primaloft Synergy, a more advance PrimaLoft which uses continuous filament technology.  This will keep it lofty and warm even if it should get wet (which it won't because you wouldn't let that happen), and it packs down easily for your backpack.  

My hat is off to Nemo for making sure all their stuff is cool looking and this sleeping bag is no exception.  I really appreciate the colors--the shades of gray with the bright orange, it's a great looking sleeping bag.

Nemo is offering a limited edition run of these bags, so if you want one now, head over to their site and grab one before they're all gone.  They will be back in a few months, in time for spring and summer adventures, but boy would one make a killer holiday gift for the camper in your life.  Find one of these awesome sleeping bags HERE.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

HORNY TOAD Must Have Fall Pieces

Horny Toad has some exciting eco friendly pieces in their Fall line.  Check out the Chaka Long Skirt, a butter soft blend of Tencel and organic cotton.  I love the little stash pocket that's perfect for a phone, mp3 player, or id and credit card.

The length is just right for fall and will look great with boots this winter.  It has a little flounce at the bottom which is feminine and flirty and fun.  It's one of those wardrobe staples that offer enough versatility to go from office to dinner and right in the suitcase for that trip to the tropics to be worn with a strappy tank top and sandals.
They also have a new wool and cotton blend blazer called Ablaze that is soft and cozy and looks awesome with skinny jeans and boots.  I love that it's not stiff at all but can give you a professional or dressy look that won't compromise your comfort level.  Dress it up or down, this piece will give you some sophistication when you need it.

Horny Toad clothing is super comfortable and consists of earth friendly fabrics and fibers.  They make clothes for women who enjoy feeling feminine but insist on comfort and function too.  Find more of these must have clothes HERE. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Too Cool for School: Tree Free Dalai Lama

It's not too late to add to your back to school arsenal of eco friendly school supplies.  Check out this too-cool-for-school Dalai Lama notebook from EcoPaper.  This colorful and inspiring notebook is completely tree free.  How cool is that?  Non toxic and made entirely from post consumer and agricultural waste, I wish EcoPaper could make all the paper products in the world, their methods just make sense.  This notebook would make a great travel journal or sacred space to track meditation or other goals. Find it HERE