April 27, 2012

Green Teens: 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment

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The preteen and teenage years can difficult ones both socially and emotionally. It was during this time of my own life that my environmental senses awakened. I felt at times both desperation and motivation to do something towards changing the pollution and environmental degradation I was learning about, yet the task seemed so large for one child.

47 Things You Can Do for the Environment by Lexi Petronis was written with teens in mind:

There's no doubt about it, our environment is in crisis. Everywhere you go, people are talking about it: how the earth is warming up as a result of too much carbon dioxide in the air and too few trees left to absorb it, how oil-drilling is ruining natural habitats, how trash is overflowing into our waterways, and how chemicals used in various products are making people and wildlife sick. Ugh.

You know the planet is in trouble. The question is: What can you do about it? Go out and buy a brand new $30,000 hybrid car? Persuade all of the health clubs in your town to install low-flow showerheads and toilets? Revamp your entire house to operate on solar heat? Come on -- you know better than anyone that this kind of stuff is hardly a reality for most high school kids. But what's the point of mulling over what you can't do, when there is so much that you can do?

You don't have to run out tomorrow and build a car that runs on vegetable oil, or ship out to South America to save the rain forests. You just have to get informed and start making small changes, one at a time. Decisions to shop, drive, and even party differently can have a huge and positive impact on the health of the earth. That's what 47 Things is about.

In this book, you'll find tons of real things that teens can do to make a difference. Some things are as easy as eating less meat, planning a green date, or learning to shop vintage. Others are more involved, like hosting a green film festival for friends, creating an environmental task force at school, or going on an eco-adventure to gain a deeper love and appreciation for this beautiful spinning rock we call home.

Why teens? you might ask. The answer is simple. You're strong, creative, and motivated. You're doers and dreamers. And you're also the ones who will inherit the planet. If change is going to happen, it has to start with you.

I like the ideas presented in this book, such as carpooling, which teenagers are already pretty good at, and shopping for vintage clothes. I got really into thrifting when I was in high school, and it is a great way to find unique pieces while saving the environment.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 26, 2012

Green Pets: Planet Dog Wood Bamboo Chuck Ball Toss With Recycled Ball

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Pet toys are typically made from the cheapest materials. They do not hold up to the demands of humans and dogs, and they end up in landfills. In fact, I usually will not buy a dog toy, as a stick can serve the same purpose.  Lucky for my dogs, they get great toys through my blogs.

Planet Dog's mission is "to amuse, explore, support, innovate, create, educate, celebrate, & philanthropate...all in the name of the dog". We (humans and canines) love Planet Dog!

Planet Dog Wood Chuck Ball Toss Toy with RecycleBall:

Engineered with sustainable bamboo and reused cork scraps. A sleek take on other ball-tossing devices, Wood Chuck's® bamboo core offers strength and maximum chuck-ability with an ergonomic cork handle for comfort and grip-ability throw, after throw. Wood Chuck's® 4-pronged claw coupled with the pliant nature of our Orbee-Tuff® products make it a cinch to grab and throw. Goes the distance every time. Wood Chuck® is offered with Orbee-Tuff® RecycleBALL®. Can be used with Planet Dog's Orbee-Tuff® 2.5" toys or certain unpressurized standard tennis balls.

These are great, durable toys. I really like them both!  The ball tosser really flings the ball far, allowing the dogs to get a great work out running up and down the hill as I toss it. For a high energy dog, this is a must!

This product has just won the Green Spirit Award from the editors of Pet Age, the pet industry trade magazine!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 25, 2012

Earth Week Solutions: Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems

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Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems by Darrell Park is a very optimistic, hopeful book.

This book provides a straight forward and enjoyable approach to improving the world around us, making it clear how each of us can play a significant role in fixing those things that are broken. Better Than We Found It brings clarity to our problems and offers thoughtful solutions to fix what ails us. And, although some of these ideas carry big price tags like doubling the budget of every public school or expanding the Peace Corps to 100,000 volunteers, a surprising number cost little or nothing. Good government doesn't have to be pricey, and some ideas, like turning the Post Office into a bank for those without one, can even bring in a little revenue to our great country while improving people's lives. Other ideas such as the need to honestly assess our history and to fix the ten worst-performing states are painfully obvious, with not so obvious solutions. Some ideas, like training soldiers and aid workers together or preventing genocide by putting someone in charge of preventing it, can save thousands or even millions of lives, we just need to do our part to make it happen. Better Than We Found It will make you realize that America's problems can and will be fixed by ordinary people who care about their country.

So often, I hear people express their disillusionment with the United States and the problems we face politically, globally, and environmentally. Reading about simple solutions that everyday citizens can help to implement is refreshing and uplifting. This book is not all pie in the sky ideas. They might just be doable!

Park suggestions solutions to problems as grand and diverse as:

  • Ending homelessness by truly understanding it

  • Getting at-risk youth involved on positive community organizations

  • Using social media to prepare communities for emergency situations

  • Free electricity for every electric car

  • Ending poverty by recycling cans and bottles

I think it is human nature to read these ideas and think that couldn't work, or how why would my congress listen to my ideas. Park makes excellent cases for his ideas and leaves one wondering why our politicians don't think in similar turns.

20% of proceeds from this book are donated to charity.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 23, 2012

Uniquely Spice Up Your BBQ: Ali's All Natural Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

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I love bbq tofu. We typically use an apricot teriyaki sauce, but sometimes a more traditional bbq sauce is in order.

Ali's All Natural Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce uses less sugar than most similar products.

ALI'S Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce-This BBQ sauce is made with all natural ingredients including only the finest raspberry puree. This sauce gives you just a hint of raspberry mixed with an array of spices that will make your mouth watering for seconds and even thirds!

NUTRITIONAL FACTS are as follows: Serving size is 2 tbsp, Servings per container about 12, 12 fl oz per bottle, 10 calories, 0 fat, 240mg sodium, 2 carbohydrates, and ONLY 1g sugar.

Ingredients: Tomato Sauce (Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Water less than 2% of: Salt, Citric Acid, Spice Natural Flavor),Water Worcestershire Sauce (Vinegar, Molasses, Anchovies, Onions, Salt, Garlic, Tamarind Concentrate, Cloves, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract), Apple Cider Vinegar, Seedless Red Raspberries, Caramel Color, Liquid Smoke, Stevia (Rebaudioside A), Mustard, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Chili Powder.


This product would be much nicer if it was made from organic ingredients. Also, it is not vegetarian, as the worstershire sauce contains anchovies, thus I have not actually tasted it.

Ali's should work on their product photography and website if they want to attract more customers. 
 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

Never Leave Your Child in the Car: Childminder Smart Clip and Key Ring

childminder.jpgAs the weather starts to warm, inevitably there will be tragedy when a parent forgets their child in a hot car. This is one of those situation that you hear about and can't really understand how it could happen, but it does. A simple device could prevent these deaths.

Childminder Smart Clip System attaches to the car seat and your key ring. It alerts you if you walk away from your car without your infant.


The ChildMinder Smart Clip System should greatly reduce the opportunity for a child to be inadvertently left unattended in a motor vehicle while fastened in a child safety seat. The smart clip is deactivated upon unfastening.

  1. The ChildMinder system performs a self-test upon each use to insure its proper functioning.

  2. The ChildMinder system reminds the parent/caregiver with an alarm six seconds after the parent/caregiver has moved more than 15 feet from the child in the child safety seat.

  3. The ChildMinder system even serves to remind the parent/caregiver of the child's presence even when the parent/caregiver has inadvertently forgotten the key ring until the smart clip is deactivated.

  4. The ChildMinder system installation takes less than three minutes. Simply replace your child's safety seat chest clip with the ChildMinder system's smart clip and place the key ring alarm unit on your automotive key ring.

The ChildMinder system will not compromise the integrity your existing child safety seat.

This product was actually sent to us as part of Earth Day promotions: "As a SGS certified product, all materials in the monitoring system are made with environmentally friendly materials."
 

I can't tell what those "environmentally friendly materials" are. It is made of plastic and uses lithium batteries. It does automatically turn off when not in use to save battery life, but I think the eco claims are a stretch.

Last year, 33 babies died in hot cars. This device could have prevented these deaths. Perhaps all car seats should come with one installed; however, education is also strong prevention strategy. It happens to pets too.  Maybe they need a similar clip on their collars.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2012

Green Laundry: Wooly Rounds Reduce Dryer Time by 10-25%

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Although I should always air dry my clothing, I don't. It is about convenience and softness. Fortunately, there are ways to save energy and minimize this green sin of mine.

Wooly Rounds are felted wool balls. The idea is really quite simple and brilliant:

A wool dryer ball is a felted ball of wool that you use in your clothes dryer to help separate your clothes. Having several in your dryer creates a constant motion that allows for more air to circulate around your wet laundry so your clothes will dry faster. The more dryer balls you use, the less time it takes to dry a load and you can reduce your dry time by 10 -25%.

Wool is used because of its incredible properties including the ability to:

    • help reduce static - wool fibers can absorb static cling

    • naturally soften clothes due to the friction of the balls against the fabric

    • makes clothes fresher and smell cleaner - since wool has the ability to absorb toxins and odors

I think Wooly Rounds are great! Plus, they are handmade in Maine.

 I've never been a fan of dryer sheets. Can't stand the smell. 

Wooly Rounds are great because they reduce drying time thus allowing me to continue to use my dryer with less guilt.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 19, 2012

Yummy and Convenient Organic, Toasted Garlic Gold Nuggets!

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MMMM, garlic nuggets! Whether in a recipe or sprinkled on top, I am in love with organic garlic nuggets! They can be sprinkled on "everything but dessert". As an alternative to butter, baco-bits, or soy sauce, I can't wait to try them on a baked potato and popcorn!

We were sent three different flavors to try:
Rinaldo's Organic Garlic Gold Nuggets

Our most popular item, these delicious Nuggets are hand-made bits of toasted, sweet, mild and crunchy organic garlic. Use as a gourmet topping on anything, including salads, pizza, sushi, baked & mashed potatoes, popcorn, pastas, etc. Our Nuggets make a great sodium free alternative to flavor your meals.

Garlic Gold, Organic Sea salt Nuggets
An incredible blend of our hand crafted, organic and delicious Garlic Gold® Nuggets blended with the refreshing, incredible flavor of gourmet sea salt. This is truly a unique, gourmet, top of the line garlic salt. Use it on everything: try it on popcorn, steamed veggies, baked potatoes, soups and salads.

Garlic Gold Herbs de Provence
An incredible blend of our hand crafted, organic and delicious Garlic Gold. Nuggets with the refined, sophisticated, fresh flavor of the finest blend of Authentic Fresh Herbs. Sprinkle on fish, meat, vegetables, eggplant. Gratin potatoes, grilled vegetables, tomatoes and more for our signature crunch and an authentic, unique, fresh French flavor that will delight the finest foodies.

These hand-crafted, organic toppings are so easy to use and flavorful!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 18, 2012

Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science: LifeSpice Essential Herbal Spice Supplements

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A few years go, I attended a workshop on neuroscience and language developmental disorders. One of the presenters mentioned how beneficial turmeric was for our brain. According to the Brain Research Institute at UCLA:

Modern medicine is starting to sit up and pay attention. Scientists are taking a closer look at this Asian wonder spice, teasing out active ingredients and testing its age-old cultural and medicinal uses in 21st century laboratories. The National Institutes of Health has funded at least eight studies investigating turmeric. The spice and a chemical it contains -- curcumin -- are being probed for their potential to prevent and treat a broad range of diseases: cancer, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's and arthritis.

LifeSpice Essentials supplement combines the beneficial properties of over 20 spices and 100 antioxidants and phytonutrients. It is 100% natural and free of gluten, animal products, dairy, or yeast.
LifeSpice Essentials is a premium nutrition supplement that harnesses the scientifically proven healing power of herbs and spices. With its range of powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients, it can help protect your body against stress, toxins and disease.*

This is a great blend of spices that would be impossible to get through cooking everyday.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 17, 2012

Reseal your Wine with Leakproof CapaBunga Caps

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As a mostly red wine drinker, I don't have much need of squeezing opened bottles of whitehttp://capabunga.com into the refrigerator. Even so, recapping wine with the cork is not easy, and I certainly don't want to have to use a corkscrew to reopen it.

CapaBunga makes leakproof caps for wine bottles with cheeky phrases like "Me Time", "I earned it", and "Wine Safe".

WHAT IT IS CapaBunga® is a reusable silicone cap that reseals a bottle of wine after you remove the cork. It's made to resemble the bungs used to seal barrels during winemaking. Once you remove the cork and re-seal the bottle with a CapaBunga®, it is liquid tight and the bottle can rest on its side or even upside down without leaking. No more jamming the cork back in the bottle, no more rearranging the fridge to fit an open bottle in the door. The open bottle can also be stored on it's side in the fridge or on a wine rack. CapaBunga® fits virtually every wine bottle.
I really like these caps and think they do solve a problem wine drinkers experience.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 16, 2012

DewStop Saves Energy and Prevent Mildew by Automatically Turn on the Your Bathroom Fan

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Although I personally love breathing in the condensation that builds up in the bathroom, it is not so good for your home's longevity. Bathroom fans help, but they are often left on long after needed wasting precious electricity.


DewStop FS-100 Condensation Control Sentry Fan Switch automatically turns your fan on and off at precisely the right moments.

Save on Energy and Maintenance Costs
Using an exhaust fan to rid a bathroom of humidity can be a tricky balancing act. Turn it off too soon, and you may leave behind damaging moisture. Leave it on too long, and you waste energy by sending heated or cooled air outside unnecessarily. Because the DewStop only comes on when needed and stops after 30 minutes, it helps you save on home maintenance and energy costs.

Make Your Fan a Smart Fan
With the DewStop Condensation Sentry Fan Switch, you can transform your bathroom from ordinary to intelligent. This clever switch features a "Condensation Sentry", which constantly monitor's temperature, humidity, and dew point to determine a room's condensation level. If the sensor detects rising condensation levels, it will automatically turn on your fan and keep it on until the condensation is no longer a concern and your room is dry.


We don't have the right sort of wall plate to use this kind of switch, so I wasn't able to install it.  Some reviewers on Amazon rave about this product, and some say it does not work.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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