Wednesday, March 31, 2010

KidsCraft Recycled Rocket ✮ GIVEAWAY ✮

Who doesn't love rockets?  KidsCraft Playhouses has made it possible and very convenient for your child to have one of their very own.  This Space Imagination Shuttle  was a smashing hit at my son's birthday party.  It is big enough to fit five pre-school age kids (though it's designed to fit up to three comfortably) and withstood a lot of rough housing and excitement.  The kids lit up when they walked through the door and saw it--the scale is quite big and dramatic.  This sort of takes the concept that kids would rather play with the box than the toy inside to a new level.

They come with recycled star crayons so the kids can decorate the rocket and they are made of 100% recycled materials and are completely recyclable when you are through with it.  We are going to carefully repackage it and keep it in the attic for future use.  But not until my son has had enough time to enjoy it.  You can put blankets and pillows and books and whatnot in there for a fun little haven.

KidsCraft Playhouses also make a cottage playhouse.  I think both would be wonderful in the classroom or for a special occasion.  If you are hosting a birthday party or event, consider one of these to liven up the festivities.  Or if you have a big space or are okay with one of these spending a little time in the living room, check out KidsCraft Playhouses HERE.  Proceeds from this Space Imagination Shuttle as well as all KidsCraft products go toward children's causes throughout the US.

                                        ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ GIVAWAY ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮

Win Your choice of the Space Shuttle or Cottage Playhouse by doing the following.  Each thing you do counts as an entry, just be sure to leave an individual comment for each.  These are super cool and totally worth the effort.  Good Luck!

1.  Visit KIDSCRAFT and tell me one interesting thing about this company.

2.  Tweet or blog about this giveaway (one entry for each).

3.  Follow KidsCraft on FACEBOOK. 

4.  Follow KidsCraft on TWITTER. 

5.  Follow this blog by going into your blogger dashboard and adding me to your public reading list.

Update:  This giveaway is now closed, Averie You are the winner!

True Random Number Generatorwinner:7Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

This has been an action packed week at my house.  My son's birthday, lots of cooking and baking (raw food prep too), hanging out with friends and family, and eating.  Lots of eating.  Do you know about Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World?  This is my go-to book for parties and the recipe for chocolate cupcakes is the best I've ever had, fail proof and always a crowd pleaser.  They were wolfed down before I could take a picture, but trust me, they alone are worth the purchase of this book.

If you make your cupcakes with whole grain flour and use all organic ingredients, you can afford an occasional indulgence, I think (barring any allergies or other health issues like diabetes). For those of you who have been following, my high raw detox resumes in full April 1, woohoo!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

simplehuman Fingerprint-proof Trash Cans

A trash can is something we use every day but don't really think much about.  But it's a pretty integral part of the kitchen and in the last few years, trash can designs have become much more sophisticated.

Enter the simplehuman Fingerprint-proof steel Trash Can.  This is the ultimate trash can.  First of all, it will last at least 10 years.  In five years I have purchased three trash cans for the kitchen and they either fell apart or were awkward to use in some way and didn't last.  I thought I was buying quality--they were stainless--but they just weren't made that well.  Simple Human has a warranty on these so you don't have to worry about your investment.

The trash can is very good looking, but more than that, they have really thought the design through.  The step is easy, the lid opens and closes quietly and seamlessly to keep in odors, and my favorite part is the ease with which the bags go in and out.  It has a special little grip for the trash bags so you don't have to struggle to hide the bag or keep it in place.  There's also a little stash place for spare bags.  It is not completely fingerprint-proof on the top of the lid for my four year old, but he has been very interested in it and I think when the curiosity wears off it won't be an issue.  No fingerprints have shown up anywhere else on the can.

For those that need a recycling solution, they make a Rectangular Recycler Trash Can which I think is a great idea.  Currently I keep recycle bins on my porch that work for me, but this would be ideal for those living in apartments or condos.  simplehuman makes all sorts of organizational tools to make life easier, check them out HERE

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring is Here

Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Cherry Blossom From 100 Famous Views of Edo

I've always loved Spring.  The new life unfolding, the spirit of adventure and the bursts of color everywhere like flower fireworks.  Right now there is something that is making me sneeze but I'm enjoying it anyway.  I read this great post over at A Bitt of Raw yesterday and it brought back memories of a wonderful time I had in Japan a few years ago.  Just the word cherry blossom takes me right back there.

I'm a huge fan of Hiroshige and got to see some of his original work in person, including one of my favorite woodblock prints, Cherry Blossom from a series called 100 Famous Views of Edo.  It was a thrill and I remember it like it was yesterday.  Japan is a magical place.

Cherry blossoms are quintessential and beautiful symbol of Spring, a great time for new beginnings, for embarking on a challenge, a new project, a cleanse.  The liver is the corresponding organ for Spring and some choose to do a liver cleanse.  Some do spring cleaning at home, it's a great time to put away your warmer clothes and take out the Spring/Summer wardrobe and donate what you haven't worn in a while.  I'll be doing a little bit of all  of this.
Happy Spring everybody!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Want to try something completely unique in the world of chocolate?  I've just tried FINE & RAW's raw organic Mesquite chocolate bar and it's all I can do not to eat the whole thing.  The texture is fantastic, slightly grainy and not like any other chocolate I've ever had.  The flavor is mild but complex. 
There are layers of detectable notes.  When I saw the word mesquite, I thought it would be spicy or smokey, but it's not at all, just very different and exciting and mellow.  Interestingly, this is the one chocolate in their range that uses no sweeteners other than lucuma and yacon.  It is sweet, but in a very subtle way.  
I'm completely in love with it to the point of almost declaring it my favorite chocolate bar ever (I know better than to do that).  FINE & RAW is a refreshing and eco friendly company with aspirations to change the world throough chocolate and silliness.  Check them out HERE.  

Friday, March 19, 2010

Green Party Goods: Eco Friendly Party Supplies

Have something to celebrate?  Green Party Goods is one stop shopping for festivities of all varieties, making it possible to have our cake and eat it too, in a more sustainable manner.

Look at this fabulous birthday banner.  This is so much nicer than the paper or plastic throw-away banners.  It's well made and can be reused over and over, and it looks even nicer in person than it does in the photo.  The little dangling stars are adorable and the banner itself is quite large, and makes a fun presentation.  

Check out Green Party Goods for a wide variety of party supplies that fall into one or more of these categories:  organic, biodegradable, recycled, or reusable.   Find them HERE.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Proteak FSC Certified Organic Teak Cutting Board

Need a cutting board?  I use cutting boards of varying sizes every single day--every single meal. Proteak makes some lovely options which are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified organic teak.

Proteak operates on a responsible and eco friendly business model.  Their forests cover over 8,000 acres of reclaimed Mexican ranch land and protect over 2000 acres of rain forest.  They've planted over three million trees which serve to offset the carbon emissions of over 20 thousand cars each day.  Pretty impressive numbers, huh?  A win-win approach like this just makes good sense.

The cutting board itself is beautiful.  I love the handle and find myself reaching for it every day.  It covers the right half of my stove so if I am doing food prep (raw or cooked) it makes for a handy work space.  When I'm done, I just rinse under warm water and go over it with a brush, dry it off and I'm ready for next time.  There are many different shapes and sizes to choose from.  Check Proteak cutting boards out HERE.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Indigenous Designs: Fair Trade Organic Clothing

I have recently discovered a wonderful clothing company, Indigenous Designs.  I tend to have a hard time finding organic clothes that work for me fashion-wise.  Sometimes it seems like the fashion industry doesn't quite get the market for organic clothes.  We want current fashion without the chemicals and poor labor practices at an affordable price.

Well, Indigenous Designs totally fits the bill.  My taste in clothes is clean lines, soft fabric, contemporary and comfortable, with an occasional quirky piece a la Anthropologie thrown in.   For me, Indigenous Designs is all of this and I'm so thrilled to have discovered them.  

The best part is they are responsible.  By using natural fibers, low impact dyes, and fair trade business practices with great respect for their artisans, Indigenous Designs are creating sustainable fashion.  

I got this Ruched Scoop top and I am in love with it.  It's simple and very soft, and has wonderful ruching details to add interest and femininity.  The fit is very flattering.  I can't wait to try more of their designs!  Check them out HERE.  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

High Raw Detox Update

I haven't posted in a while about my high raw detox, but I am still going strong.  I thought I would spare you more endless pictures of salads with avocado and baked sweet potatoes but I do want to let you in on my progress.  More pictures will follow as my food options expand.

Slowly I am getting more energy, yaay!  That and doing something about chronic migraines were my hopes for this cleanse and I think I am making some headway, more with the energy levels than migraines but even a little progress is great.   I'm feeling very level.

My clothes are loose and I just feel all around better--emotionally, mentally and physically.  The detox was for four weeks, but I am not going to stop there.  When something is working, and you feel good, you don't want to stop.  This way of eating is practical and enjoyable for me though I will be adding nuts and more fruits and occasional other things.

I don't miss the gluten and think that is something that will be gone from my diet permanently.  My mindset about food has shifted.  My 'cheats' have not been cupcakes, but cannolini beans, macadamia nuts, brown rice pasta and mango (all in very small amounts).  I'm great with that and feel happy that I am not desiring baked goods or anything I consider unhealthy.  Will check in with you again soon, thank you for your support!

Image credit:  John Steven Fernandez

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Eco Friendly Etsy Find, Fingerless Gloves

It's still a little nippy where I live even though there is a splattering of Spring everywhere (new buds, blossoming flowers, and pollen floating around).  There's still time for these fabulous fingerless gloves.  Handmade from hemp and Italian wool by the folks at The Art of Zen....Crochet on Etsy, these mitts are cute and warm.  I've always liked the looks and practicality of fingerless gloves.

Designer Chriss Smith, who is keen on using earth friendly materials, is hosting a giveaway on her blog, so you could win one of her goodies for yourself.  Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

KALLARI Organic Dark Chocolate

Meet one of my new favorite chocolates, Kallari.  This is dark chocolate that is completely smooth and I am loving it.   Sometimes dark chocolate can have a bitter aftertaste which I don't care for, but not this.  The packaging is also gorgeous and very gift-worthy.

Kallari is one of the few chocolates in the world made by a farmers' cooperative which produces and profits from its own chocolate production.  Kallari consists of 850 families indigenous to the Napo region of the Amazon in Ecuador.  The chocolate is specific to small family owned Kichwa farms and the flavors are distinct.

I love to enjoy and support products that are actually beneficial to the world.  Kallari helps to keep our rain forests alive by providing consistent income to locals so they are able to utilize their land in an eco friendly manner.  Find them HERE.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cuisipro Foam Pump Soap Dispenser

Do you ever feel bad about buying those plastic soap dispenser bottles? I did. So I tried several other ways to deal minimize waste. I found a lovely stainless steel dispenser and got my soap from the co-op bulk section. Well, in no time the metal reacted with the soap and it got all yucky and gross and I didn't want to use the soap because it was rusty and brown. I tried bars but they were really messy, particularly with a four year old in the house.

Then I came across
this Cuisipro Foam Pump soap dispenser and wondered if it would work. It does! It saves you money because you only use a tiny bit of soap and the rest is water. Brilliant! The foam is a big improvement on the regular glob of soap in terms of both waste and rinsing, my hands feel cleaner with the foam and well rinsed.

There is a suction cup on the bottom which is great for kids, my son has a much easier time with this than with previous methods we've tried. You can bring the whole thing to the co-op and there will be zero waste (or you can just re-use a different bottle). This is a great product, find it

Friday, March 5, 2010

GelPro Anti-Fatigue Mat

This is one of those things you don't realize you need until you have it.  And boy do I wish I'd had this GelPro mat during the holidays when I spent so much time in the kitchen that my body ached so bad I couldn't sleep.  This is not a decidedly green item, though GelPro is moving in that direction, but it's green for your body, if you know what I mean.  When it comes to health, I feel trade offs are sometimes necessary.  It certainly is made to last, so I don't see a lot of these ending up in landfills, that's for sure.

I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen year round doing food prep and clean up.  Sometimes my feet, lower back and legs hurt from standing so long on a hard floor.  This mat absorbs the shock and takes the pressure off your lower back.  It really works for me, the comfort level is fantastic.  It provides relief for a variety of different types of pain issues and it feels especially luxurious on bare feet.

Aesthetically, it's nice and simple.  I have the striated black mat and it blends nicely with my stainless and black appliances.  I like the simple clean lines and the striation coordinates well with the striation in my bamboo floors.  The black mat shows any little crumb you might drop on it, but I'm a clean freak anyway, so that is fine, I just sweep it right up.  The mat protects my new floors too, in the kitchen where it needs the most protection.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the anti-microbial treatment of the bottom of the mat.  I've written about those anti-microbial chemicals before and would really rather they not be present in my home in any form.  However, the comfort is worth the trade off for me and it probably helps keep mold from growing between the floor and mat should any water find it's way underneath.

It's not that thick, incidentally, and the ends stay down so that the chance of hazard from tripping over the mat looks pretty slim.  They come in different colors and textures to match your personal decor, and you can special order the size you need for your space with the designer series.  I have a galley style kitchen, so the extra large mat really works well to cover the three areas I'm in most, in front of the sink, stove, and prep area.

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, or any other space such as a laundry room or standing work space, check out GelPro HERE for some serious comfort.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dyson Turbinehead Canister Vacuum. Function Meets Design.

Why can't all appliances be this sexy?  Seriously, this Dyson Turbinehead DC23 looks like a piece of modern art.  Everything that comes into your house should be aesthetically pleasing to you.  Why not?  I wish other appliance makers would get this simple concept. Why shouldn't our mundane utility items be beautiful?  That is what I notice first with this Dyson, it's good looks.  It's charcoal gray body, cobalt blue canister and modern design are striking and pleasing to see around the house.

The next thing I notice is that it's intuitive and easy to maneuver.  The head is thin enough to slide under furniture easily, the telescoping wand is simple to adjust for height, and the canister is easy to remove.  I Love Love Love the retractable cord, the on off button is located right next to the retractable cord button, everything is easy to find.  The vacuum is lightweight enough to carry around the house with ease.  The handle is ergonomic and actually pivots while on the floor or when cleaning furniture and stairs or dusting.  Everything is very simple and straightforward.

One thing that is wonderful about Dyson is that there are no bags.  You simply remove the canister, press a button and the contents go right into your garbage.  I recommend doing this frequently, after each use or every other use.  There are also no belts and no filters to have to keep up with, you only have to maintain the filter by washing it occasionally.  This is both convenient and saves money.

Another thing I love about Dyson is that they are wonderful for people with allergies and asthma.  Dyson vacuums are certified asthma and allergy friendly from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  There's no funky smell or particles floating around--you know how sometimes vacuums seem to stir up more stuff than they vacuum?  Not this.

There are several attachments, making upholstery cleaning and getting into nooks and crannies easy and the suction is great for both my bamboo floors and carpet.  I Love this vacuum, highly recommended!  Find it HERE

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teragren Bamboo Flooring

Recently I shared with you that I was out of a kitchen for a few days.  Well, the reason is that I was in the process of having new flooring installed.  Yaaay!  My floors are now absolutely glowing warm honey carmel bamboo and I'm so thrilled.  I feel like I got a whole new house, it looks much bigger and it makes such a huge improvement.

I have lived in my house over two years and the whole time I've been enduring dreadful carpet.  I love my house, but the carpet--it was an eyesore and allergen harbinger and it had to go.  I spent a long time researching different flooring options.  First I wanted bamboo, then I decided on hard wood.  Then I came back to bamboo.  I talked to different people--designers, contractors and opinions really vary about flooring.  One thing I kept hearing over and over was, "If you go with bamboo, get Teragren."  My hesitation with bamboo was about durability and formaldehyde, I also had conflicting information about which one was the most eco friendly.

I had many samples of various woods and bamboo and I literally beat the daylights out of each.  The Teragren bamboo was just as strong as the Brazilian hardwoods I was looking at and just as pretty.

Teragren's bamboo is sustainably sourced and the finishes adhere to strict safety standards.  I was impressed with Teragren's commitment to producing an eco friendly product, and after much reading and talking with knowledgeable and friendly Teragren representatives, my fears regarding formaldehyde were alleviated.

I am super happy with my bamboo floors.  They are modern, warm, and so easy to keep clean.  The striations and markings from the bamboo joints act as camouflage so you don't have to worry about every little dust speck or cookie crumb--great for those with children.  If you are looking for new flooring, I strongly recommend you check Teragren's website, right now they have some great deals on clearance flooring.  Find them HERE.

Image credits:  Teragren Website