February 24, 2012

Religion and Climate Change: The Space Between Church and Not-Church

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People are passionate about their spiritual beliefs, and people are passionate about climate change (naysayers and believers alike). Often, these two topics collide, as Biblical beliefs in human dominion over the Earth are used to justify the rampant destruction of the planet. It doesn't have to be so, and many churches are actually embracing the connectedness between solving climate change and spirituality.

The Space Between Church and Not-Church: A Sacramental Vision for the Healing of Our Planet by Caroline S. Fairless explores just how we can "awaken our hearts to the needs of our imperiled planet":

Healing our planet is a relational and spirit-centered process, requiring humans to reclaim our appropriate place among the earth community, intrinsic to the integrity of the whole. This book invites readers to release the human-centered biblical justifications of dominion and rule for the sake of a natural web morality, insisting on the sacramental nature of all life. The process awakens our hearts to the needs of our imperiled planet and calls us to servant action from our place within the biotic community.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 20, 2012

15 Minutes of Exercise is All it Takes to Find the Fountain of Youth

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Do you have 15 minutes to spare each day in exchange for clarity, energy, health, and youth? Fountain of Youth Exercises: For Vitality, Radiance, Joy & Fulfillment in Fifteen Minutes by Noami Sophia Call provides simple instructions with step by step photographs of a routines that will help you achieve and maintain health and radiance as you age.

Drawing upon the ancient wisdom of Tibetan monks, yoga practitioners, and indigenous people, this manual for youthful living is an informative guide for inspiring those approaching, or in the second half of life to feel and look great. A combination of do-in--an ancient technique of self-massage that strengthens the chi and circulation and warms the body from the inside out--yoga poses, and breathing exercises, this program offers a simple approach that can be done in the comfort of the home. An immediate understanding of how to breathe will help practitioners live in a more conscious and efficient way, and the poses will build confidence for a healthier, longer life. A well-researched study, that also embodies the importance of nutrition and our lifestyle, this is an invaluable tool for nourishing our inner and outer radiance.

The photographs feature older men and women, and some even show modifications using chairs. These exercises are perfect for anyone of any age. 

 
Call is also the author of Yoga in Bed.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2012

Wrinkles Don't Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully

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I turned 40 this year, and frankly, I don't care. I am in my prime! I practice yoga every day and hike. I am in good shape, I have health, I have security, I have love, I have a beautiful home, I have a sweet family, I have...

But will I feel this way when I turn 70? My father is doing just that this month, so I will pass on this book to him.

Wrinkles Don't Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully by Ruth Fishel is a sweet little book to help us keep a positive perspective on growing older.

No matter if we're thirty or ninety, we can learn to live in a way which will help us deepen our joy of living. And while we know deep down that wrinkles don't hurt, sometimes we disagree with those who tell us to seize the day--that the best is yet to come. We know the goal is to greet each day with optimism, enthusiasm, and a zest for living, but sometimes it's hard to know how to begin. Bestselling author Ruth Fishel provides much-needed wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to help us remain positive, present, and more mindful. Studies show that mindfulness may be the best medicine for what ails us physically and emotionally: It's a powerful tool that can keep our memories sharp, alleviate stress, boost immunity, and help us better handle life's ups and downs.

Written in a page-a-day format, Wrinkles Don't Hurt is filled with practical suggestions, affirmations, and whimsical illustrations that will help you let go of worries and fears, remember that you are not alone, and help you discover and celebrate the joys that come with living a seasoned life.

Today's advice:

As I begin this day with prayer and meditation,
I let go of all the regrets from the past
and all my fears of the future.
I feel love in the moment.
I am at peace.
My heart is filled with gratitude.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 30, 2012

National Geographic Books: Visions of Earth

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We love National Geographic books! Visions of Earth: Beauty, Majesty, Wonder (National Geographic) upholds the same standards of excellent photography you've come to expect from Nat. Geo.:

Visions of Earth raises a curtain on the wonders of the world and thrills us with nature's opulence and humanity's splendor. Each image alone exposes a nugget of our planet's magnificence; the totality of the collection goes beyond our imagination. Turning the pages, viewers are struck by the richness of life on Earth. One photograph is more awe-inspiring than the next--chosen by veteran National Geographic magazine photo editors to present what is visually incredible. The photographs are drawn from the popular "Visions of Earth" feature in the magazine, (rated Number 1 by readers), from our own storied Image Collection, and from renowned photographers throughout the world, many never-before published.

Enthralling images fill the book in a gallery of stunning landscapes, fascinating people, amazing animals, and unexpected glimpses of the usual and unusual. Puffins' beaks signal breeding time in Norway and a speckled emperor moth in South Africa diverts predators with an illusion. An elephant takes a morning dip in India's Andaman Sea while Siamese crocodiles race in Thailand and surfers in Australia relish a perfect day. Monks in Bhutan run to dinner and a little girl in red stands out among white-robed women in an Indonesian mosque. Spanish youth decked in colorful, oversize papier-mâché heads celebrate a festival in Catalonia and a flower of flame blooms from a man's kerosene-filled mouth in a Sikh celebration in India.


At first, I wondered why people were included in the photographs, as the title to me implies visions of the environment, but people are part of the environment. We live on Earth and have the greater impact on the planet more than any other species.

As mentioned with previous reviews of National Geographic books, it does not appear this book is made with FSC paper or recycled content; however, the National Geographic Society's mission does include conservation and their Green Guide is a great resource.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 17, 2012

Globalization of Water: Sharing the Planet's Freshwater Resources

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We cannot survive without fresh, clean water, yet our global economy impacts far off places in ways we don't often imagine. Our cheap goods made abroad require water for manufacturing. Do we ever think about what this is doing to local ecosystems and communities?

Globalization of Water: Sharing the Planet's Freshwater Resources by Arjen Y. Hoekstra and Ashok K. Chapagain thoroughly explores the issues surrounding globalization and water.

Globalization of Water is a first-of-its-kind review of the critical relationship between globalization and sustainable water management. It explores the impact of international trade on local water depletion and pollution and identifies "water dependent" nations.

  • Examines the critical link between water management and international trade, considering how local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy

  • Offers a consumer-based indicator of each nation's water use: the water footprint

  • Questions whether trade can enhance global water use efficiency, or whether it simply shifts the environmental burden to a distant location

  • Highlights the hidden link between national consumption and the use of water resources across the globe, identifying the threats facing 'water dependent' countries worldwide

  • Provides a state-of-the-art review and in-depth data source for a new field of knowledge


Parts of this book are very scientific with formulas and such that do not make for casual reading; however, much of the text is understandable to the lay person.

I like how the authors do not take a stance against or pro-globalization. Instead, they focus their energy on "the establishment of proper arrangements at the global level where national arrangements are not sufficient". We cannot stop globalization in its tracks, but we can work towards sustainable water management in conjunction with it.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 12, 2012

Really Natural Cookbooks: Vegan Pie in the Sky

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Who doesn't love pie? Pies are actually quite easy to make vegan, although a flaky crust can be a challenge without the butter. Have no fear vegan pie lovers, Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-This-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and More will never leave you wondering where they dairy products went!

Holidays? Check. Birthdays? Check. Tuesdays? Check! Our research says life is 100% better any day pie is involved. There's nothing like a rich, gooey slice of apple pie straight from the oven, baked in a perfectly flaky crust and topped with cinnamon-sugar. And now it can be yours, along with dozens more mouthwatering varieties, vegan at last and better than ever.

Vegan Pie in the Sky is the latest force in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's baking revolution. You'll find delicious and adorable pies, tarts, cobblers, cheesecakes and more--all made without dairy, eggs, or animal products. From fruity to chocolaty, nutty to creamy, Vegan Pie in the Sky has the classic flavors you crave. And the recipes are as easy as, well, you know. Serve up some:

  • Maple-Kissed Blueberry Pie

  • She's My Cherry Pie

  • Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tartlets

  • Salted Pecan Caramel Pie

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake


Learn how to rock (and roll) the perfect pastry crust, whether butter, graham cracker, chocolate cookie, or gluten-free almond. Luscious toppings transform your pie into a showstopper. And you'll even find handheld treats, to make getting your recommended daily allowance of pie more convenient! With gorgeous color photos and Isa and Terry's irreverent commentary throughout, Vegan Pie in the Sky is the modern baker's bible for pie that's out of this world.

I make pies, but I rarely make a tart! Oooh, my mouth is watering looking at these recipes. Should I start with the stawberry & cream tart or maybe the chocolate raspberry tart? I have these fruits frozen from the garden. We will be eating well this weekend!

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 11, 2012

Really Natural Books: Rhythm of the Family

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The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons by Amanda Blake Soule and Stepehen Soule is a well-organized book that provides month-by-month, quality projects for the family. From recipes to crafts, each month's seasonal activities are beautifully photographed and described.

Many of us with busy families yearn for a slower and simpler life with our kids--one that is connected to the seasons and the natural rhythm of the year, one that has our children spending more time out of doors rather than in, one that balances out some of the busyness of our lives--the computers, the televisions, the cell phones--with a deeper connection to the Earth and an appreciation for and understanding of the natural world. The Rhythm of Family is a guide to living such a life for any family.

Following the course of a year through the passing of the seasons, this book explores the ways we can create deep family connections and meaningful memories through living in tune with the cycles of nature. From stomping around in mud boots in the spring to gathering around the woodstove in winter, our activities naturally change from season to season--from the rhythms of the seasons comes the rhythms in our homes, our hearts, our families, and our every day. Paying attention to these changes slows us down, inspires new types of creative play and exploration, instills a sense of family togetherness, and deepens an awareness of nature and self that can make our lives, days, family, and earth grow stronger.

The Rhythm of Family explores what we learn and can gain as parents and families by encouraging and experiencing creativity and nature exploration with our children, the seasons can provide us with a rhythm that brings us close to the earth, and closer to our children.


I really, really, really like this book and am inspired to try many of the activities with my family. For example for this month of January, the Soules suggest we make creamy potato soup, knit winter weather cowls, make frozen sun catchers, and plant herb seeds. Typically when I review books like this one, I find a handful of projects I would like to do; however with this book, I want to make them all with my children.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 30, 2011

Really Natural Eating: Wildly Affordable Organic

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Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less by Linda Watson debunks all myths that healthy and organic eating is expensive compared to processed food. With 100 recipes and sample menus, Linda shows you simple, cheap, and delicious it can be.

Linda Watson, the founder of CookforGood.com, created her wildly affordable cooking plans after being inspired by a national challenge to eat on a food-stamp budget. She credits her background in project management helping her to not just survive but thrive on just a dollar a meal per person...

If you've wanted to eat like it matters but felt you couldn't afford it, Wildly Affordable Organic is for you. It's easy to think that "organic" is a code word for "expensive," but it doesn't have to be. With these ingenious cooking plans and healthy, satisfying recipes, Linda Watson reveals the incredible secret of how you can eat well every day--from blueberry pancakes for breakfast to peach pie for dessert--averaging less than two dollars a meal.

Get ready for wild savings! You'll discover how to:

• Ease your family into a greener lifestyle with the 20-minute starter plan

• Go organic on just $5 a day--or go thrifty and spend even less

• Take advantage of your freezer and freeze your costs

• Find the best deals at your local farmers' market or grocery store

• Cook easy, scrumptious, seasonal dishes from scratch


I like how Linda arranges her menus based on seasons, as it only makes sense that seasonal food will be cheaper than out of season food that has been shipped from different climates. It is also fresher and better for your health and the planet.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Joy of Cheesemaking

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I have never made cheese, but I have friends who do. Homemade cheese is so delicious, and someday, I plan to try. Thanks to Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart's book The Joy of Cheesemaking, I think I can!

Review
"Starred Review. Brush up on Chemistry 101 and be prepared to master all kinds of new techniques...In between the scientific lingo and the critical procedures of learning about the art of cheesemaking come some great color photographs, a few dozen recipes (e.g., Texas cheese soufflé, fromage flatbread), and introductions to "rock star" cheesemakers around the country that include personal histories, a cheese-featured dish or two, and contact information. And lest we lose sight of the end results, enjoying le fromage has its day in two chapters covering the how-tos of building a cheese board and pairings with wine or beer. The authors--one American, the other French--are affiliated with the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, one of a handful of similar accredited educational institutions in the U.S." (Booklist )

The pictures make me salivate, and the instructions are simple enough I think I could do it! Now, maybe I just need to get a cow for constant cheesemaking supply!

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 14, 2011

National Geographic Books Make Great Gifts: The Big Idea

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National Geographic books are always well done, and of course, the imagery is spectacular. The Big Idea: How Breakthroughs of the Past Shape the Future is set up in a timeline to show the progression of "Big Ideas" through time and beyond.
The Big Ideas are:


  • Information & Communication

  • Health & Medicine

  • Physics & the Cosmos

  • Chemistry & Materials

  • Biology & Environment

  • Transportation & Space Exploration


From the Pythagorean theorem to DNA's double helix, from the discovery of microscopic life-forms to the theory of relativity--the big ideas of science and technology shape an era's worldview. Open this book, grasp the newest ideas from thought leaders of today, then spring off from them to move back through the past, one big idea at a time. Meet the people who gave birth to these ideas--and those who fought against them. Meet the MIT electrical engineer currently developing a way to turn on the lights cordlessly, then move back through Nikola Tesla's visionary concept of the wireless transfer of energy, Thomas Edison's groundbreaking work in developing a nationwide electrical grid, Ben Franklin's experiments to capture electricity, all the way back to ancient Greece, where Thales of Miletus described static electricity as a property of naturally occurring amber.

As with other National Geographic books we have reviewed, there is nothing eco-friendly about this book other than the work National Geographic does as a society. I would really like to see the company move towards using recycled materials in their books. 


Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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