Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sleepy Pod Air for Spring Break Air Travel

If you're contemplating traveling with your pet during Spring Break, you might want to know about Sleepypod.  They are a modern, innovative company with with carrier options that do triple duty.  I love their designs for their striking good looks and all the thoughtful details that go into them. 

The Sleepypod Air is unique in that it conforms to the size of the aircraft you are on.  It also serves as a "car seat," and a crate, perfect for hotel rooms and home. 

Our dog loved it immediately.  She was happy to go inside and make herself comfortable, knowing right away it was for her and getting very excited about it.

We haven't had a chance to take it on the plane yet, but it works great in the car and I think it would be nice for car travel and to help keep the dog at ease at various destinations.  It straps into the car via seat belt making it a safe way to transport your dog.  It's a wonderful crate for those who live in small spaces, you just fold it up and store it when not in use, taking it out for trips to the vet or the occasion when you need a crate (company coming, etc). 
 The Sleepypod Air is a high quality nylon, easy to clean and durable.  It has compartments for a collapsable bowl, food, leash, etc.  It has an optional opening on one side to slip over a wheelie suitcase for easy transport through the airport. 

The ends are compressible (from 22" down to 16"), allowing you to make the carrier smaller for tighter spaces and letting your friend stretch out when there's room.  Our dog is a small Chihuahua and needs very little space, so I found myself longing for a smaller version of this carrier, but I think people with larger dogs would appreciate this feature. The bottom is lined with plush faux fur which makes a nice travel bed, and there's even an optional warmer pad to keep your dog extra cozy in colder climes.

This is a multifunctional luxury carrier that comes in several lovely colors.  I prefer low profile black for travel because it makes it look smaller, matches my other stuff, and doesn't show scuffs.  Find it HERE.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GEARING UP for Spring Break Part 3: Accessories

Creature comforts can really make travel much more enjoyable.  BUCKY makes some wonderful travel pillows and for short trips I love the MINNIE.  It comes in different colors and patterns and clips right on to your bag.  The cover is removable for cleaning and it provides soothing comfort as well as a little pop of eye candy.
Outdoor Research has some great Organizers that are useful for as many things as you can imagine.  Use them for toiletries, a little travel kitchen for those of us who like to bring things along like real salt, stevia, tea bags, etc., a customized first aid kit, and on camping and business trips.  They're low profile and don't scream "valuable stuff in here."  They come in three different sizes to suit your needs. I love the way you can use them in daily life to transfer key things from one bag to the next without having to empty out all the contents.  I'm always changing purses and this is very handy.  They're well made, compact, light weight, and hold a ton of stuff.

For an easy packing strategy, I like these PACKING CELLS from SEA TO SUMMIT.   They have various sizes and shapes and colors to organize your stuff.  You can give each kid their own color coded cells and cubes and tell them to fill them up with what they want to take and that's that.  I think they'd also be ideal for camping--they are paper light and won't add to any tangible weight your pack.

Sea to Summit has some great travel gear in their Traveling Light series, including this wonderful  Travel Wallet.  I love it for the organization, with space for plane or train tickets, boarding pass, itinerary, credit cards, different currencies, and even some change.  The zipper pulls are ergonomic and it's light weight.

For packing jewelry, I like this JEWELRY ROLL from Travelon.  It keeps things from getting tangled up, holds a ton of jewelry and rolls up to stow in your bag, low profile. 

It's always nice to have some sort of entertainment with you.  Ipods, Ipads, yes.  But the batteries don't last forever, and sometimes you want to interact with other people.  Bananagrams has come out with a more compact portable version of their game: Zip-It.  This is like quickie Scrabble.  It's great for when you just need to pass a short amount of time, or keep it going as long as you want.  I used to carry around travel Scrabble (totally un-portable) and this is a huge improvement.  Small enough to go right in your purse or pack, it's perfect to take on the plane, train, or slip in your purse to occupy the kids at restaruants.

To organize your smaller electronics, I like this Personal Media Pouch, by Great Useful Stuff (G.U.S.).  There's a cute little plug on the front closure to tell you what's in there, and there's space for three items and corresponding cords.  If you need more space than that, they do have a larger version, but for me, the smaller one is preferable for travel while the larger organizer is fabulous at home.  The charcoal gray is travel friendly and looks great.

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gearing Up for Spring Break Part 2: Kids

Want to get the kids excited about travel?  Give them their own gear.  Not only does it give them a thrill and sense of responsibility, it makes things easier for us.  I love this DANTE BEATRIX PERCIVAL WHEELIE BAG.   How cute is this?  It's pthalate, lead, and pvc free and has the same charm as the cool Dante Beatrix lunch boxes.  There are organization compartments and those cheeky devil horn zipper pulls.  You can write your name on the label in the back and I suspect this would be a very hard bag to lose track of as it would really stand out.  The handle is adjustable for different heights (even adults) and they come in various ultra-cute designs.  Just looking at them warms my heart.  I think it's one of those things that you'd want to hang on to even after your child has grown up.  It could house various mementos from your trips, artwork, special clothes and other childhood treasures.  Find them HERE.

Like adults, kids need a day pack.  I like this Kelty Kids Grommet pack because it is heavy duty and will last forever.  It will double as a school pack and the straps stay put with weight.  It comes in several colors and patterns and has plenty of organizer pockets for snacks, books, a jacket, electronics and water bottles.  If your child travels light it would work fine as an overnight bag, and I think it's perfect for the plane and use as a day pack for longer trips.  Find it HERE.

For kids beyond toddler-hood (that you don't have to worry about choking hazards with), I like these Think-etsIt's the perfect size to slip in your purse or pack and pull out when needed.  Having a few tricks up your sleeve can save the day and this should keep them busy for a while.  I love open ended imaginative play and that is what this is.  It's a small tin box filled with tiny trinkets including an arrowhead, a small tomato, an air plane and a star.  It can be used a number of ways--pull out various pieces and tell a stories based on various criteria, pick a piece and tell everything you know about it, make up questions, ad-libs, it's all about your imagination.  This would be great to have on the train, in the hotel and in restaurants. Wrap it up as a little present and pull it out at the right moment.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Colcannon Yumminess

Need some festive food to celebrate St. Paddy's Day?  Pretty much every year I make some version of the traditional Irish dish, Colcannon.  It's fast, easy, cheap and fairly nutritious.  It's basically just mashed pottatoes with cabbage or kale.  It's warming and hearty and great for cold weather--good Irish comfort food.

Here's what you need for a 2 quart pot full of Colcannon:
(organic everything)
4 medium-large red potatoes
one leek 
half a bunch of kale, chopped
earth balance
sea salt and pepper

All you do is cube some potatoes--I use red because I think they have a better flavor and they are said to not spike your blood sugar the way russet potatoes do.  Four potatoes are enough to fill my 2qt. pot.  Boil the cubed potatoes in one pot, and in another pot saute some chopped leeks.  Add some chopped kale (cabbage works too, but I like kale), then put a lid on in and take off the heat.

When the potatoes are done, drain off the water and add them to the leek mixture and stir in some earth balance, salt and pepper (some people like to add some soy or hemp cream) and voila!  You are done!  Happy St. Paddy's everybody!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gearing Up for Spring Break Part 1: Luggage

With Spring Break coming up and Summer just over the horizon, I've been feeling the effects of wanderlust.  It's been a while since I've traveled and I'm so excited about all the cool new travel gear that's emerged.  Things that organize and make it easier to travel, things to make the journey more comfortable, and many eco friendly options.   Stay tuned for the next few posts highlighting my exciting finds that will help make your travels more convenient and planet friendly.  Let's start with an essential--luggage.

Never have I experienced a suitcase that glides like this OSPREY SLIPSTREAM wheelie bag. I've done some serious traveling in my life and I can't believe I'm only now discovering Osprey.  This is nothing like all the schlepping of awkward gear I've done in the past (in fact I didn't even realize how awkward it was until trying this).   I love the comfortable ergonomic handle and the big wheels that glide like they're on ice.  It's effortless.

I also appreciate the well planned organization capacity.  The 18" size is perfect for a long weekend or week of travel, longer depending on how light you pack.  For me, it's perfect to take on the train for weekends in a different city.  Because of the built in laptop compartment, it would be wonderful for the business traveler.  Since it's small and extremely maneuverable, I think it would also work great for kids.

If you are flying, there is a smart liquids pocket on the top, so when you are making your way through TSA, you just pull out your baggie of little bottles (1 quart baggie with bottles 3oz or less) rather than trying to rummage through your bag.  The grab handle on the feet makes it easy for getting in and out of overhead bins, and there are compression straps in the main compartment.

The laptop sleeve is easily accessible and lockable with additional storage.  All zippers are easy to grab on to (some with rubber grips) and there's a handy dirty clothes compartment.   

Osprey is an environmentally friendly company whose packs are so exceptionally made that they have the All Mighty Guarantee repairing or replacing any product any time anywhere.  You can't beat that.  Find them HERE

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Three Great Tools for the Kitchen

There are three kitchen utensils I use all the time in the winter.  A colander to wash my veggies, a cutting board to chop them, and a small pan to flash-saute them for topping off my bean noodles or quinoa.  The whole thing takes less than 15 minutes and it's warming and nutritious.  Here are some great tools I've recently discovered. 

The ROSLE COLANDER: I f you eat veggies and other produce, colanders are a must have.  Perfect for those with small kitchens, the Rosle collapses flat for easy storage. They come in several uplifting colors to add unexpected design to your kitchen.  The quality is great and I have a feeling (though I haven't tried it yet) that it could double as a light steamer if your pot is tall enough.  Hint: Amazon sometimes has this available as part of their 4 for 3 promotions.

Cutting boards are something I use every single day.  I love these bamboo cutting boards by TruBamboo.  The silicone feet keep it steady and smooth on your counter top.  I love the light weight and modern look.   This company also makes dishwasher safe cutting boards (doesn't get easier than that), but I'm really sold on the feet and prefer this one.  Made of sustainable bamboo, their function friendly design makes veggie prep enjoyable.   They come in different sizes which is nice--if you are just chopping garlic you only need the small one.  After receiving my sample, I promptly went out and got the other sizes.  Really happy with them!

After you get your veggies ready, pop them into the GreenPan for a fast flash saute.  Normally I wouldn't go near a non-stick pan.  I've been using  cast iron and ceramic for years, but when my son started eating eggs (a temporary foray), I thought, there has to be something easier than this.  I'd heard about the nontoxic GreenPan with it's new Thermolon technology and was excited to try it out. 

I tried the 8" Rotterdam GreenPan and really like it.  Definitely makes the perfect omelet and it couldn't be easier.  The eggs slide right off.  It works great for a small portion of veggies--just the right amount for one or two people.  I love the silicone on the handle which makes the pan ultra fast and easy to use, no potholders necessary.  I've only been using it a few weeks so I don't have a long term opinion yet.  It seems to be very well made and I feel like as long as it's taken care of as directed it will last.  Really nice thing to have in the kitchen when you need it.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Kris Carr could make anything fun.  Anything.  Even drinking your greens and getting a tube up your butt (colonics).  CRAZY SEXY DIET is infused with healthy information made fun.  Her great vibes are infectious, the tone is sassy and creative and it feels like a conversation with a good friend.

Every now and then, even though I eat this way pretty much normally, I need a good kick in the pants.  Seems like every holiday I start veering off with chocolate and cookies (vegan and organic, but still). Her words are just what I needed to refocus.  For those new to this lifestyle, I can't imagine a better introduction.

I Love Kris Car. Love Love Love her, and I can't imagine anyone not loving her. But you know what made me adore her even more?  The things she wrote about sugar.  Never have I heard anyone articulate the evils of sugar so perfectly.  And the honesty--just beautiful.   I was both laughing and nodding as I was reading about her battles with this wickedly addictive substance.  I loved hearing about how, at night, she would hear that spaghetti western music playing in her head as she faced the sugar monster.  Boy have I been there. 

There's a great primer on PH and why we want to strive to be as alkaline as possible, why we should try to eat foods low on the glycemic index, and what causes and prevents inflammation.   It's all about eating to cope with or prevent disease and feel your very best.  This translates into looking your best too. 

This book is jammed packed with great information and guest appearances form many well known contributors in the field of nutrition and integrative medicine, like Dr. Hyman, Dr. Bernard, and Kathy Freston among others.  It's very well balanced giving you a ton to work with in a variety of areas beyond diet.  Movement, meditation, massage, safe body and household products are all touched upon as part of a healthy lifestyle. There's a 21 day cleanse and some yummy recipes in the back to get you going.  Highly recommended!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Prana's New Fair Trade Clothing Line

You can eat it, you can drink it, and now you can wear it.  Prana recently introduced a new line of Fair Trade clothing true to their mission to offer products with purpose.  This Soul T is the first Fair Trade Certified garment to be introduced in the exciting new line making its debut this Spring.

Until recently, a Fair Trade standard was not available for clothing.  Fair Trade USA is a third party certifier so that consumers know that their clothes were produced in a manner they can feel good about.  This includes a fair prices to farmers, fair wages and working conditions, and environmental sustainability.  I can't wait to see what they come out with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Indoor air quality during the winter can be problematic.  Air can become stale and heaters tend to create dry air in your house.  A humidifier is a great solution to this, helping with dry skin as well as typical cold symptoms that come along during the winter.  If you're sick, the moisture created by the humidifier can help make it easier for you to breathe and give releif to irritated sinus passages.  It can also help with coughing and dry sore throats.

In the past, I'd only used the warm mist type humidifiers.  You know the kind that have a steady stream of steam coming out?  I'd never heard of cool mist humidifiers before, but my recent experience with the AIR O SWISS AIR WASHER has me very impressed.

For one, you don't get that condensation all over your stuff that can happen with the other style.  The other thing I love is how easy it is to use.  It's very intuitive and straightforward.  You take it out of the box, remove the cardboard that's inside protecting the discs, fill up the water tank and turn it on.  It's that simple.

I love that there are no filters to replace.  You just take the discs out and clean them every two weeks or so (depending on your water quality) and clean out the insides.  It's easy.  The directions recommend using a product called EZ Cal for decalcification, and a sample is included for your first cleaning. 

If you'd like to add some fragrance (I think eucalyptus would be great for when you're sick), you just put some essential oil on a cotton ball and insert that into the little tulip shaped holder (seen in photo).

It's very quiet if you want it to be.  There are three speeds and on the lowest speed you can barely hear it.  I prefer the middle speed as I like the moderate white noise and find it soothing at night for falling asleep.

The machine itself is very good looking, in fact I don't think I've ever seen a humidifier that looked this cool. 

The only thing I wasn't crazy about is the location of the opening where you are to fill the tank.  It's on the back and it's awkward.  I found it easiest to fill it in the bathtub.  It's also impossible to get all the water out of the tank because of this poor location.  If the hole were on the top of the tank so that you could refill with a pitcher, and just turn it upside down to drain, that would be perfect. 

All in all, I really like the Air Washer.  They equate the machine to having a similar effect as rain and I'm excited to see how it will help with the pollen that drives me nuts in the Spring.  If you need a reliable humidifier to see you through the winter, check this out HERE.

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