January 17, 2013

Save Money: Budget Savvy Diva's Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill

One of my friend's is always quick to remind that the more money you spend, the more money you need to make. In this time of economic recession, saving money is even more important or urgent than before when jobs were more plentiful.

Budget Savvy Diva's Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill by 50% or More: Secret Tricks and Clever Tips for Eating Great and Saving Money by Sara Lundberg is a handy little book. From coupons to sale cycles, Lundberg offers tips that are easy to implement.

Do you want to score the hottest bargains and best deals? It's easier than you think! In this helpful pocket guide, Sara Lundberg, author of the super-saver website, reveals her cleverest, most effective and down-right sneakiest strategies for saving money while filling the cart with all your favorite foods. Thanks to the advice in this book, you'll quickly be navigating the grocery aisles like a pro:

•Tips for maximizing coupons
•Tricks for finding hidden bargains
•Delicious recipes that stretch every dollar
•Techniques for smart, stress-free shopping

These tips work for shopping at health food stores and coops too! Our coop has a great coupon book that if you hit at the right time saves a bundle.

Lundberg also talks about creating a stockpile in the kitchen of staples that last and figuring out how much food you really need to prevent food waste.

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 10, 2013

Antibacterial Clean Bags: Avoid illness from unclean reusable shopping bags

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Last year, it was all over the news that reusable shopping bags were responsible for an outbreak of viruses. MSNBC reported on one such case:

Eventually, interviews revealed that most of those who became ill ate packaged cookies at a Sunday lunch. Where did the cookies come from? Turns out, the culprit was a reusable grocery bag of snacks left in the empty hotel room occupied by the first girl who got sick.
Quickly, the puzzle fell into place. The girl had been very ill in the hotel bathroom, spreading an aerosol of norovirus that landed everywhere, including on the reusable grocery bag hanging in the room.

I launder my reusable shopping bags often, but not before each shopping trip. One solution is antimicrobial and antibacterial bags, like the ones from Go Clean Bags.

At first, I assumed these bags used nanoparticles or some other such questionable method to be "naturally" resistant. Clean Bags uses Chitosan:

We do not use hazardous Triclosan used in products like antibacterial soap, clothing, toothpaste nor do we use Nano-Silver. We coat all our bags and inserts with a Chitosan based solution!

Haven't heard of Chitosan? Well Chitosan naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi. It is produced from chitin (ki'tin), a natural resource that is abundantly renewable. Chitin is a primary substance found in the discarded shells of crustaceans, such as crabs. It contains unique antimicrobial properties and is naturally non-allergenic, especially for consumers sensitive to shellfish. The antibacterial mechanism of the solution chitosan is a non-leaching type, which means that chitosan cannot be released from the textile onto food products in the bag.

Bacteria, mold and fungus deteriorate fabric. Chitosan prevents the formation of these microorganisms, maintaining the fabric's integrity. Since Chitosan is produced from a natural resource, it is 100% safe and studies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded, "no adverse ecological effects have thus far been attributed to its presence." We still advise to wash our bags and they will stay antibacterial and antimicrobial for a period of six months and over 20 washes.

Some people actually take Chitosan as a supplement, which does imply something of its safety around your food.

It still seems like regular washing of reusable shopping bags is a viable solution, but if you are especially concerned about germs and viruses, Clean Bags is for you!

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

August 13, 2012

CA Assembly Bill 298: Ban Plastic Checkout Bags

I had plastic bags! You cannot travel anywhere without seeing one littering the side of the road or beach. I never take a plastic bag, but it can be awkward at times when family visits and brings one home from the store. Do I launch into my plastic bag tirade? If California Assembly Bill 298 passes and becomes law, I won't have to!

According to the Surfrider Foundation:

The California State Legislature is considering a bill the would ban plastic checkout bags at supermarkets, retail pharmacies and convenience stores statewide starting in 2014. Assembly Bill 298 would also require those retailers to provide reusable bags for sale and charge a fee for recycled paper bags as an incentive for customers to remember their reusable bags. California could be the first in the nation to pass a statewide plastic bag ban but it won't happen without your support!

What I don't understand is how I have been offered plastic bags in cities that supposedly have banned them? I've been told some stores are exempt.

If you live in California, please support AB 298. 2014 could not come too soon!

Image:  License Attribution Some rights reserved by katerha

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 17, 2012

Bring Your Own Bag!!! Envirosax Chic Designs

I love Envirosax. When I reach into my basket of shopping bags, I always choose the Envirosax first. These bags wash nicely, and they are super compact for tossing in a purse or bag. In fact, I thank Envirosax for ensuring I never take a single use bag from any store, not just the grocery store.

We were sent a Envirosax Bag from the After Dark Series:

After Dark rises up as moonlit, edgy silhouettes of the night. This modern and artistic range features hand-painted illustrations with bold creativity and hints of nature. Lightweight polyester, portable, waterproof, and weighing just 1.4oz each, these groovy bags have been tested and are totally safe to carry food. With reinforced seams, each surprisingly large bag can hold a weight the equivalent of two supermarket plastic bags.

I really love the designs of the After Dark series.  They make a fashion and environmental statement!

Although I know Organic Recycled Cotton Bags are better for the planet than polyester, I still love my Envirosax!

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 13, 2012

Surfrider Partners with Envirosax to Support Rise Above Plastics

I love Envirosax and I love Surfrider! Their partnership is perfect in promoting both reusable shopping bags, as wells as how plastic bags are harming marine life.

Sales of the limited edition Envirosax Surfrider Reusable Bags 3pk Set go to support Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics campaign.

According to a study conducted by the United Nations, an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to one million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter. With this new collection, Envirosax and Surfrider Foundation hope to raise awareness about the issue of single-use plastics in our marine environments.

"Our oceans, lakes and waterways are beautiful elements of nature we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy," said Envirosax CEO Belinda Coker. "We hope to inspire everyone to reuse. One tiny change is like a drop of water into a pond - it has the power of creating a big ripple effect. We hope that all of the small changes people make by using our bags will make a huge impact in order to preserve and protect our environment."

"The Surfrider Foundation is thrilled to work with Envirosax to bring more attention to the harms single-use plastics have on marine life," said Steve Blank, Surfrider Foundation's Director of Development. "The bags are fun, stylish and will turn heads with amazing art from our supporters Ned Evans, Robb Havassy and Melinda Morey."

I really like the artwork on these bags, and I appreciate that 50 cents from each purchase supports a very worthy cause. Furthermore, my experience with Envirosax is they hold up very well over time, and I love how the snap closure makes these bags compact and thus easily kept in a purse or backpack ensuring you always have a reusable bag handy.

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

November 25, 2011

Green Gifts for Mom Giveaway: Krimson Klover Eco-Friendly Fine Merino Wool Clothing

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We are super excited about Krimson Klover!  Not only are these "knits with a twist" fashionable, the company takes their "commitment to environmental and social responsibility very seriously by using yarns from sources that respect their animals, employees and Mother Earth".

We were sent a luxurious Mrs. Rose sweater to try.  This washable merino wool is super soft and comfortable. There is no itch at all giving you the freedom to wear whatever (or nothing at all) underneath it.  The knitting is of high quality, and I love how the buttons do not go all the way to the bottom of the sweater giving it a more fashionable design.  The bold design works beautifully giving the sweater an overall chic, graphic aesthetic.  The Mrs. Rose would make a perfect gift for Mom!

Good news!  We have a beautiful Krimson Klover Poppy Hat and Scarf to giveaway to one lucky winner!  The Pippy Hat and Scarf are made with the same incredible "luxurious washable" merino wool as the Mrs. Rose sweater, plus the hat is lined with fleece for extra warmth.


Krimson Klover Pippy Hat and Scarf Set GIVEAWAY!


  • This contest is open to US residence only.  No P.O.Boxes.

  • You have until 8:00 A.M. EST December 21st, 2011 to enter.


  • One winner will receive one Pippy Hat and Scarf set of their choice (inventory availability dependent)

  • Value $28.00 and $65

Mandatory Entry

  1. Visit Krimson Klover's catalog

  2. Leave a comment on Krimson Klovers's Facebook page mentioning what your favorite product is and why, as well as an @tag back to Really Natural's Facebook page about the giveaway.

PippyScarves.jpg EXTRA ENTRIES

  • Follow on Twitter Krimson Klover

  • Like Krimson Klover on Facebook

  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook wall tagging Krimson Klovers's FB page (doing this correctly, your post will show on our FB page wall)

  • Comment on another Krimson Klover wall post on FB.

  • Tweet this giveaway making sure to mention @krimsonklover

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.

This giveaway is running in conjunction with Eco Child's Play. Only one winner will be selected.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2011

Eco Bags Wine and Gift Bags: Recycled, Fair Wage, Fair Labor

We get a lot of reusable shopping bags sent to us for review, and by far, my favorites are made by EcoBags. EcoBags motto is "Clean up the planet one bag at a time". Unlike many reusable bags made of synthetic materials, Eco Bags are made of recycled cotton. They wash easily and can be customized easily with silkscreens or paints.

We are really excited about the EcoBags wine bag and gift bags! They are a great alternative to paper bags. Given their solid construction, they are sure to be reused over and over again.

ECOBAGS Canvas Wine Bag

Looking for a thoughtful way to present a gift of organic wine? Our rustic wine tote is made of a 100% recycled cotton canvas with double-stitched seams and sturdy handles to make sure your carefully chosen spirit arrives safe, sound and spectacular-looking!

ECOBAGS Embroidered Gift Bag
Our recycled cotton "Celebrate!" tote is the perfect alternative to disposable wrapping paper this holiday season. It adds a classy, eco-friendly flair to your gift and will live on for 100's of uses! This set contains three natural color bags embroidered with beautiful Silver, Ocean Blue and Forest Green thread and constructed with 100% recycled cotton and double-stitched seams for maximum durability.

I absolutely love these bags!

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

April 15, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Tote Bag

Before using reusable shopping bags was eco-etiquette, I knew a teacher who was a tote bag collector. She loved tote bags and would get so excited if we got a new one at a conference or workshop.

The Tote Bag by Jitesh Patel is an art book of tote bags! From Los Angeles to Japan, unique tote bags and their artists are featured.

This book showcases some of the most striking, inventive and subversive examples of the ubiquitous tote. From eco chic to style icon, the featured totes come from a wide range of illustrators and graphic designers around the world, with designs including floral prints, typography, illustrations, and characters. Each book will be beautifully packaged in an original and eye-catching tote bag.
There are some really amazing designs. Not only is using tote bags eco-friendly, it's also eco-chic!


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

February 21, 2011

Green Diamond Reusable Shopping Bags Feature AP-360 Anti-Bacterial Protection

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Last year, the mainstream media reported reusable shopping bags were a hazard because they harbored bacteria. For many people, it was all they needed to hear to go back to single-use plastic or paper bags. Green Diamond Bags has a solution with their AP-360 protection.

As research continues to uncover the looming risks associated with reusable shopping bags, AP-360(tm), an all-natural, hypoallergenic renewable resource proves to be a lead-free and Triclosan-free solution. Environmentally-friendly and family-friendly are now synonymous with the introduction of AP-360(tm) treated shopping bags. AP-360(tm) naturally inhibits the growth of dangerous odor-causing bacteria on a treated article. Presently, the only shopping bags treated with AP-360(tm) are the Green Diamond Bag(tm) and AB Bag (a private label Green Diamond Bag used by Haggens).

"It's no secret that recyclable bags have the potential to host a multitude of bacteria," said Bret Schnitker, president of Stars Design Group, the exclusive U.S. supplier of AP-360(tm). "While making a diligent effort to go 'green,' many shoppers are growing increasingly concerned about the impact untreated bags may have on their families. I believe people are thinking twice about the purchase of recyclable bags in an effort to decrease any risk of cross-contaminating and spreading bacteria. Research shows that bags treated with AP-360(tm) reduce the possibility of contamination by creating a negative environment for harmful odor causing bacteria."

With our sample shopping bag, we were sent so much paperwork on the benefits of AP-360, that the paper saved by using the reusable shopping bag is null.

AP-360 appears to be safer than triclosan, and Green Diamond has done their homework in presenting the information. AP-360 is food grade, so it should be safe for grocery shopping.

I am not a fan of anti-bacterial products. I refuse to succumb to that fear tactic used to sell products, especially when it comes to reusable shopping bags. NPR's reporting on the subject was more sane than the phobia created by other reports:

Yes, a study funded by the American Chemistry Council, which by the way represents some disposable plastic bag makers, found there might be microbes hitchhiking in your reusable bags. But a few germs aren't likely to pose much of a health risk.

Academic researchers recently tested 84 reusable grocery bags from shoppers in California and Arizona: More than half the bags contained some sort of coliform bacteria, a category that includes Escherichia coli.

University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, lead author of the report, tells Shots the findings don't suggest there's going to be an outbreak of disease from the bags.

Instead, the plastics industry-sponsored work, which found 97 percent of the people interviewed never washed their bags, concludes the public should be educated about keeping them clean.

AP-360 may be perfectly safe, but I will stick to organic shopping bags that I wash between trips to the grocery store.

Green Diamond does support Project Eden supporting orphans in Ethiopia. 

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

November 19, 2010

5 Million Tons of Holiday Waste Will Be Created This Season

Although the holiday shopping season is not in full swing yet, it is important to consider consumption and waste.
Via: Organic Consumer's Association

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 3, 2010

CA May Become First State to Ban Plastic Bags

California may become the first state to ban plastic bags. Earlier this summer, the state assembly passed a bill banning single-use plastic bags. Now it is up to the senate and the governor to make it law. Treehugger reports:

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in May eliminated offshore drilling in California, supports the bag ban, meaning that if the Senate passes the bill, it would almost definitely be signed into law. That would put California, which currently uses 19 billion plastic bags per year, well ahead of the rest of the country in the effort to go green.

You don't have to wait for your state to pass a law to quit the plastic bag habit. Stock up on Organic Cotton Reusable Shopping Bag (3 Pack) - 100% grown, woven and sewn in the U.S.A.!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 5, 2010

Recycled Cotton Farmer's Market Tote by Olive & Myrtle

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Spring time means the return of The Farmer's Market. Of course, you wouldn't want to shop the market with those horrible plastic bags from the supermarket, and hopefully you don't have any in your home anyways from using reusable bags. Olive & Myrtle makes the perfect bag for your farmer's market or any shopping excursion.
Product Description Look fresh at the farmer's market with this large recycled cotton tote bag. Made from 100% post-industrial cotton scrap and printed with water-based inks. Exclusive design by San Francisco based Lab Partners

Features and Benefits
Made from 100% recycled cotton
Fair Wage and Fair Labor Certified
Printed with water-based inks
Durable construction, holds more than a full grocery bag.

I really love our Recycled Cotton Tote Bag and think recycled cotton is certainly an eco step above simply organically grown cotton.

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

December 10, 2009

Shopping Online Uses 40% Less Fuel than Going to the Mall

I sometimes wonder if shopping online is really more eco-friendly than running out to the store. Sure, you can often find more green products online than you can in your local stores, but what about the emissions of shipping? According to, e-commerce is earth-friendly:

"Shipping 10 pounds of packages by overnight air -- the most energy-intensive delivery mode -- uses 40 percent less fuel than driving roundtrip to the mall. Ground shipping by truck uses just one-tenth of the energy of driving yourself." - Center for Energy and Climate Solutions

All products, even the ones you find in your local store, come from a warehouse. When you shop online you cut out one trip the items you purchase have to make - rather than shipping from the manufacturer to the warehouse to the store they're shipped straight from the warehouse to you. Not only do you reduce the amount of energy and resources used in transporting the items, but you also cut out the need to light, heat, cool and run a brick and mortar store.

Think of it this way- shopping online is like carpooling, your package shares a ride with hundreds of other packages rather than hundreds of people driving to several different stores.

I think one exception to this information is if you are already going to a store for multiple items, then it only makes sense to buy what you need there instead of ordering online. For example, there are a lot of wonderful natural beauty products online, but I would rarely order them if I can find a comparable product at the coop where I am already buying my organic groceries.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 30, 2009

5 Ways to Get a Green Deal on Cyber Monday

greentoysdumptruck.jpgOh, it's Cyber Monday, the internet shopper's version of Black Friday. If you spent your Black Friday buying nothing, as many celebrate Buy Nothing Day, it may be time to get your responsible holiday shopping done. Shopping early ensures you get what want to give without settling for what is left, and it saves you money by not needing to pay pricey overnight shipping costs. Cyber Monday is often celebrated by online outlets with not only great deals, but free shipping. Here are five ideas to get the most out of your Cyber Monday:

1. Shop the blogosphere: Bloggers are assembling gift guides and looking for the best deals on products they have reviewed and tested. Check out some of the holiday gift guides on Blogpire for great gift ideas, such as our very own Really Natural Green Holiday Gift Guide or Kitchen Contraptions Holiday Gift Guide.

2. Shop locally online: Even though you are shopping online, check your local stores' websites for great deals. You can still support local vendors and support your local economy on Cyber Monday. For example, the outdoor gear shops where I live have great online deals that allow me to shop from home but make returns in the store. Some local stores even sell via Amazon.

3. Shop with Social Responsibility: There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations you can support to give a gift to someone who has everything or is more concerned with the plight of humans around the world rather than getting a material possession. Heifer International allows you to purchase livestock to provide food sustainability to help end hunger and poverty around the world. Kiva allows you to make micro-loans to entrepreneurs around the world and actually becomes quite addicting as you are repaid and reloan money over and over again.

4. Give the gift of a CSA: This is always a great deal to invest in a local farm, and you can do it online via Local Harvest. Last year, I gave my father the gift of Community Supported Agriculture.

5. Don't sacrifice green values for a deal: It is tempting to abandon your principles of sustainability and earth-friendliness when you see a really good deal, but it is not needed. There are a lot of wonderful gift ideas, like the Green Toys Dump Truck, that are made out of recycled plastic.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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