Monday, April 30, 2012

3 Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are said to be from another world.  They're a symbol of time's illusion and of the afterlife.   Besides all that, they are just so cute and fascinating to watch.  Hummingbird feeders are a high maintenance item that can sometimes hurt or kill the little birds, so they're not recommended by experts.  But, what if you could plant things around your house to attract them?  You can! Obviously, you never want to use any sort of pesticides which can harm both the little birds and the plants--and people. * Make sure children know not to put anything in their mouth that mama hasn't given them as some plants that are okay for animals are not okay for people and even edible plants can have poisonous parts. *

Hummingbirds love red hues and conical, tubular shaped flowers.   They don't really have much of a sense of smell, but look for bright colors and nectar yield.  Here are three plants that attract hummingbirds, but do ask your local nursery for the plants that work best for your area.

Bleeding Heart:  This is a gorgeous shade plant, it likes morning sun only.  It's pest resistant and easy to grow.  These are such cool plants with Dr. Seuss like flowers, they look great in hanging pots.

Foxglove:  These are cone shaped purple flowers that hummingbirds can poke their long noses into.  They grow tall, about 3 feet, and make a nice backdrop for other flowers.

Salvia:  They like sun and partial shade and will take you right into fall with their vibrant purples and blues.  They come in different varieties, all attractive to hummingbirds.

Image Credit:  hharryus

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sierra Designs Down Booties: Perfect for Camp

You know how at the end of the day when you're cozying up to a campfire and puttering around camp you totally don't want to be wearing hiking boots?  And unless you are in a really warm climate, flip flops (as packable as they are) are too cold.  I've got the perfect camp bootie for you:  the Sierra Designs Pull On Down Bootie

Why are they so great?  Because they will keep your feet warm and toasty and not take up much space/weight in your pack at 11 ounces.  Even if you're car camping, the less you have to carry, the better.  For a long time I was using my Acorn Summit Slippers and they were great, though too heavy to consider taking on a backpacking trip, they were fine for car camping.  As they wore out I bemoaned the fact that they're no longer available and wondered if I'd ever find camp slippers I liked again.

The Sierra Booties are actually an improvement because they are more versatile being much more suitable for travel and backpacking.   They're 700 down fill, making them light and warm.  The bottoms have a non skid sole, and the cuffs are fleece lined and adjustable.  They feel so good on tired feet, and they are cushiony, which is revitalizing.  I would not wear them in muddy or wet conditions, you'd wreck the bottoms and down isn't meant for that but if weather is wet, they're still great for inside the tent. You can really drive up your comfort level with minimal effort here.  They're even machine washable (front loader only) for easy care.  I Love these booties!  Find them HERE.

Monday, April 23, 2012

3 Reasons to Go Hiking with Your Kids

Why get out in the woods with your kids?  Because it plants the seed of loving nature in them that hopefully will last their entire lives.  Reverence for nature enriches your life tremendously, I can't imagine not having that innate need to get outdoors.  It's something I totally take for granted until I hear someone say they're not into it.  What? How could that be?  To each his own, and not everyone has access to the outdoors so easily.  But even if you are a city dweller, it's worth it to make the effort to get out there, especially if you have kids.  Why?

1.  It's bonding.  Sharing time in the natural world creates loving bonds.  Some of the best memories are made outside.  You don't have all the distractions of home, like television, video games and the pressures and chores.  You're in the moment, present with your children.  It's an ideal family activity and a way to create traditions. 

2.  It teaches them at an early age to be comfortable outdoors.  They learn a sense of direction, of competence, it's great for their sense of well being and confidence.  They feel more connected to the world around them, and more protective of the environment.

3.  It's healthy!  Hiking is great exercise, but so fun you don't realize you're getting a great workout at the same time.  Breathing all that fresh air is far superior than what you might find in a gym and it's adventurous to boot. 

Image Credit

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fragile Earth App great for Earth Day

Fragile Earth is the perfect for Earth Day education.  If you have a classroom, or know anyone that still doubts climate change, check it out.  Based on Harper Collins' Fragile Earth book series, the app beautifully and painfully illustrates what is happening to our planet due to global warming.

Featuring ecological and satellite photographs from the last 100 years, you can see how drastically things have changed in 73 different locations.  You can compare what one location looked like back in the 50's to how it looks now.  Images may be viewed by category and shared via social networking.  I think this interactive learning tool would be very interesting for students.  Available at the promo price of only .99 until April 29, find it HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ahnu Montara Hiking Boots

Need a hiking boot for Spring and Summer?  Check out this Montara Boot from Ahnu.  I love how lightweight this boot is without compromising ankle support.  I have weak ankles and really need solid support in that area but at the same time, it's important to me that my feet don't feel like they are in a straight jacket.

Comfort is instant, no break in time here for me at all.  I sized up in these from an 8.5 and it's a perfect fit, they're super comfortable and light weight with good arch support.  They have excellent traction as well.

The lime green accents are fun and I love that these boots come in so many different colors, and not the boring "women colors" like pastels or those mauves and teals and whatnot.  These are good rich colors that are refreshing on the trail and pleasing to the eye. 

From what I understand, the Montara is also a warm boot, so it would be good for winter too, but since it's so light I think it's great for Summer.  It's also a good value, and the charcoal color (my favorite) is on sale right now at Zappos

Ahnu gets its name from the Celtic goddess of balance and well being, which I think is cool.   It's loosely translated to Mother Earth.  The company is environmentally and socially minded, and their footwear is designed to get you out the door and into nature.  The Montera boot will inspire you, find it HERE. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

See Chimpanzee Save Chimpanzees GIVEAWAY

To spread awareness about the movie and its “See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees” initiative, which kicks off with the film’s debut in theaters on Earth Day April 20, 2012, Disneynature is offering this fabulous giveaway.  
Prizing includes:
·         One Plush Oscar
·         One Making of Chimpanzee Book
·         One Reusable Tote Bag
To Enter, just go HERE and leave a comment.  Winner will be chosen via on April 16.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Aventura Organic Cotton Dresses

Need a cute dress for Spring-Summer?  And I mean Really Cute.  Check out Aventura, a new clothing line that highlights organic and sustainable fashion.  This Schaffer Dress is so flattering and perfect for anything from the Farmers' Market to a nice dinner.   If you are having a figure-conscious day, just put this on and you'll instantly feel ten pounds smaller, it's a slimming feel-good dress.

Wear it with a hoodie for a more casual look, or a pretty shawl or cardigan on chilly nights.  It's soft and comfy and versatile, and it's even prettier in person.  I hope Aventura hangs on to this style and offers it in more colors and patterns.  Sizing seems true, I wear an 8-10 and the Medium fits great, though a bit tight in the chest.  Larger chested women might want to size up.  Those little gathers on the front are feminine as well as the scrolls at the bottom, it's something different in the world of sundresses.  

Another adorable option from Aventura is the Willows Organic Cotton Dress.  I love the little flower detail on the front and the versatility of this dress.  It's dressy enough for an evening out, but it's also great for the beach.  The cut is forgiving and would work for different body types.

Both of these dresses are perfect for travel since they are so versatile and comfortable.  Find these fabulous pieces and other eco friendly and organic options HERE.