Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Grocery Finds

I went to the store the other day after dance class as usual and found the coolest thing (to me anyway!) - ORGANIC MILK in REAL glass bottles from Straus Creamery!

The part that caught my eye when shopping was on the milk case there was a sticker saying "Return bottles for a refund!" Apparently, you can return these glass bottles of milk at the store you bought it, or any store that carries this milk and get some money back. Now I don't know how much money, but that's an awesome way to not waste!

Another cool thing about the milk is that they do it old fashioned way, so the cream of the milk actually floats on top. My boyfriend was horrified by this, as he hates pulp in his orange juice, so the idea of cream in his milk makes him refuse to even try it! I really enjoy the milk though - it's nice and I think the flavor is ten times better than normal milk. I wouldn't mind drinking glasses of this, but I hate drinking normal milk.

The creamery is located in Northern California too, so it's local (somewhat) ;D

Another thing I discovered are these Green Tea Mints:

I got the "lively lemongrass" flavor, and it's nice - the mints are all-natural and apparently 3 mints equals one cup of green tea, so if you don't feel like drinking any but want your green tea fix, try this! Caffeine free too.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Green Pets

Meet Gromit (our pup) and Mooch (our kitty). They're our babies, our children. Gromit really needs a haircut, as you can see. :)

If you're like us, and live in a condo/apartment (upstairs too!) where you don't really have your own yard and need to walk your dog often, then you are probably familiar with picking up after your dog. I used to use plastic grocery bags before I started being more green-conscious, but then, I discovered these at the store:

BioBags for Dog Waste!
They're made of corn, and biodegradable, just like the trash bags. They're much more simple to use too, I think. You pick up the waste, turn it inside out, and they provide a little hole that you slip through so you don't need to do any tying. Simple! They're about $5 for a box of 50 at health food stores.

Also, for Mooch, we've started using this:

World's Best Cat Litter
It's the only cat litter made from whole kernel corn. It was funny when I first started using it, Mooch and Gromit sat there sniffing the bag for a long time probably cause they thought it was food.

I'm so glad we switched because I was previously using a clay-based litter, and the smell was overly fragrant, and the dust would cause me to sneeze. Every time I changed the litter box, I had to leave the room for a while. I'm still in the process of gradually getting him over to the new litter. When changing your cat's litter brand, mix it in with their old litter and make it a gradual process.

It's kitty approved!

Also, for Gromit, we use Bio-Groom Fluffy Puppy shampoo when giving him a bath. It's all natural with human-grade products.

For food, we feed them Chicken Soup for the Dog/Cat Lover's Soul, which is all natural. We also occasionally feed Mooch Innova Evo, but it's quite pricey, and Chicken Soup is much more reasonable. (It's funny when I tell the vet what I'm feeding them too.. they usually have never heard of the brand which is funny.) When buying foods for pets, pay attention to the ingredient list! PURE meats should be first - like chicken, turkey, or beef... NOT chicken-meal or chicken-by-products. The rest of the ingredient list should be mostly ingredients you recognize. Also, try and stay away from fillers - like corn, soy, wheat. Many pets are allergic to this, and it's a filler - not nutrient rich like actual meats. Try and stay away from products using rice as a first ingredient as well. Many cheaper grocery store brands use fillers as the first ingredient - that's why they're so cheap. Plus, the less fillers, the less waste your pets will have! This is VERY true as I noticed when changing Mooch's food around.

I think when changing your eating habits and changing to a greener lifestyle, you should do the same for your pets. Treat them with the same respect as any human. Everyone will be happier and healthier in the long run! :D

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Authentic French Meringue Cookies

For Valentine's day, I made my boyfriend mint meringue cookies. They're wonderful, simple and tasty - the recipe itself does take a lot of energy, but it's a wonderful treat in the end. Taken from All Recipes.


4 egg whites
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Butter and flour a baking sheet.
2. In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet using a large round tip or star tip.
3. Place the meringues in the oven and place a wooden spoon handle in the door to keep it from closing all the way. Bake for 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed from the pan. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

My own notes:
* Instead of flour and butter on the baking sheet, I used unbleached parchment paper.
* I used organic sugar and free-range eggs
* I used 1tsp of mint extract to add some flavor and 1/4 cup more sugar to make up for the added liquid.
* You can also set the oven to 185 instead of using the spoon/door method.

Mmmm! Enjoy!

Wedding Reads

Yesterday I headed up to LA to visit my best friend because she's getting married and I'm the maid of honor so I was helping her plan. We had a fun day - went to look at locations, dresses, and stationary! We also headed to the bookstore, where I picked up two books:

Eco-Chic Weddings
All about green weddings - of course I had to! I got to skim through it more last night and really liked her ideas and she had a ton of resources and websites. The author, Emily Anderson, also has a blog.

The Bridesmaid Guide
This is my first time being maid of honor, so I wanted to know all the little details about what responsibilities I need to have! So far, I really enjoy this book - it has great ideas, and helps me brainstorm for the bridal shower, which I'm going to have lots of fun planning! :D Time to put some Danny Seo's ideas into action as well as my own! Expect a green party! :D

Which reminds me, I need to hit up the library soon.. too bad I have a huge fine for overdue books right now :(

Friday, February 23, 2007

Annie Chun's Biodegradeable Bowls

I never like cooking for myself, so I always end up retreating to quick meals - like canned soups and noodle bowls. One of my faves is Annie Chun's noodle bowls.

The great thing about them? The food is all natural (not organic), AND, the bowls are biodegradable! They are made from corn, and what I like to do with the bowls after the meal is use them for food compost by the sink. I just thrown the whole bowl into the compost pile when it's full. Yay!

You can read more about the bowls on her website (some of her products are also gluten free as well!), and make a small donation for children in need here.

Downfall, yes, they're not cheap (I think they're normally $3.50ish at Ralph's - I've gotten them at Trader Joe's though, and I'm pretty sure they're cheaper there)

Now I just need to get worms for my compost pile...

Mutts Shtuff

Mutts is my favorite comic ever - I love the honest, innocent insights from Mooch and Earl, the main characters (a kitty and a dog! Incidentally, we named our kitty Mooch too). It's just too adorable! I LOVE some of the stuff they carry in their online store too - here are two things I'm really wanting right now!

Greeting Cards that you can plant!
I LOVE this idea - you send someone a greeting card and bouquet in one! Each card is embedded with wildflower seeds - I would love to even receive a card and plant it just to see!!

The card company that they use, Green Field Paper, is located here in San Diego as well, and I actually tried hunting down their products locally before, but I really want to try and find these cards just to try it out!!

100% Organic PJ's
My favorite is one with Earl saying "Go Organic!" of course :)

Edit to add: Thanks to Arcadia at The Goode Life, there's also a link that shows you how to make your own paper you can plant with seeds! Awesome - I should really put this to use, since I have some wildflower packets I haven't been able to use.

Greener Printer

I finally got my paper samples from Greener Printer!

Usually I print my own business cards - which is fine for me, but now that I'm starting to raise my pricing to even higher and really jump into a different price bracket, I probably should invest in some fancier business cards. Plus, I've been thinking about doing bridal shows as well, and I will need postcards and handouts! Originally, I thought about doing all that myself too, but 1) it's a lot of work, 2) it's a lot of time - two things I can't spare right now. Plus, with my lifestyle change, it was going to be hard finding a suitable printer.

I heard about green printing companies using soy-based inks and the like, so when I found Greener Printer, I was thrilled. I immediately ordered a sample packet and ooohed and ahhed over it today.

The quality is awesome - the only thing I was kind of disappointed about was that they didn't include their business card sample, which was one of the bigger reasons I got the sample in the first place!! But I got a good idea of their card stock and printing, so I'm very excited.

If you ever need anything printed in fairly large quantities, you should definitely check them out! They have a real-time estimator on their website too, which is awesome because you will be able to see how much something will REALLY cost you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Five Simple Ways

Going green feels like such a huge daunting task when you first begin. I remember thinking "Where in the world do I start?! I'm just one person, I'm not going to make that big of a difference!" Easy way out, right? I actually felt very depressed about the whole thing. The world was doomed, in my eyes.

It wasn't until I watched "An Inconvenient Truth" that I felt my attitude about the world's state change. It went from "I can't make that much of a difference" to "Even if it starts at just me, it's starting somewhere." Others see by your example and change their own behaviors. Even if they don't, know that you are living in a way that is gentle on the earth. And don't you want to care for things you find valuable?

Lifestyle changes are hard though, especially if you're not in the right mindset. So don't do it because "everyone tells you to" or you feel obligated to. Do it because you want to make a difference, and you want to care for the earth. Do it because you want to. Because without that mindset, you're not going to do anything wholeheartedly.

I read in Organic Housekeeping that it takes 21 days for someone to form a new habit or break a habit. So if you're willing, try to change little things for 21 days in a row. Here are some great and easy ways to start if you don't know where to start!


Recycling is one of the easier ways to lessen your impact. Instead of contributing to landfills, you're allowing something to become something new and reused. Most major cities have a lot of recycling programs out there, Earth 911 is a great way to start finding recycling locations near your area.

Luckily for us, we have recycling bins near our trash bins in the complex (although it irritates me to no end when I see recyclable things in the trash!!). If you don't have a recycling program in your area, try and find out how you can implement one in your neighborhood - people will recycle more because it'll be more convenient for them.

I know in California, they raised the return money for recycling this past year, for you get 10 cents for large containers and 5 cents for small ones. You can find more information at We currently keep all bottles and cans and plastics in plastic bins and everything else (paper, cardboard) goes into the neighborhood recycling bins. We also recycle the plastic grocery bags we get, I know the Ralph's supermarket in our neighborhood takes used plastic bags for recycling - check your neighborhood store if they do too.


(Our dog, Gromit, not included)
This one is a little more costly, since I know a lot of people re-use plastic bags as trash bags (*ahem* like my parents.. and most Asian families). But recycle those bags, and use biodegradable bags instead! I get a satisfying feeling when I know that I'm using something that wasn't from non-renewable sources, and that they biodegrade.

They cost about $5 a box, and you can find them at most Whole Foods or natural food store. I have yet to see them at Trader Joe's though! The only problem is that you can't really throw out food in the bags because well... they biodegrade. Well you probably could if you took out the trash more regularly than we do... :P


Yes, buying organic does cost more. But I think of it this way - I'd rather be spending more out of my own pocket, than harming the earth and my health. Same goes for buying things like Bio Bags. Also, supply and demand. The more demand in organic foods, the lower the prices will get. Spend your money where your mouth is.

Two things to look out for when buying organic:

Look for the USDA label. This means that the product is certified organic, because really, anyone could label their stuff "organic." This was only recently implemented in 2002.

When buying produce, look at the number stickers. If there's a "9" in front of a 4-digit number, then it was grown organically. If there's a "8" in front of it, it means that it was genetically modified (STAY AWAY!) If there are only 4 digits, then it was grown conventionally.

Also, pay attention to where it was grown! Try buying local - farmers markets are great, and read the signs and labels to see where it came from. The closer they are, they less energy it took to bring it to you. And that's better for the planet, yes?


Again, buying recycled does cost more, but you're reusing, yes? Make sure you check the label and read the percentage of POST-COMSUMER waste that was used. Meaning, people already used it, rather than pre-consumer, which means that it could be from things like wood shavings on a mill floor or something. The higher the post-consumer, the better.


Using cloth bags is one thing that I have a hard time remembering to do because when I want to go to the store, it's on a whim, and I don't have my bags with me. So sometimes I have to grudgingly get a bag, or just carry without bags. But when you can, use reusable bags! Some stores give discounts, or put you in a raffle when you use your own bag. Apparently, IKEA is starting to charge for plastic bags. I know many places in the UK and overseas do this, and I'm so glad SOMEONE is starting this in the US.

You can get bags at many stores - Trader Joe's has the canvas ones for $3, and there are many great ones you can buy at


Looking back, that's all a lot of information, and it may be a lot to take in - but you can always start small! Recycle for a bit first, then move onto something else. But all these things are good to keep in your mind when shopping at the grocery store. What helped me in the beginning because I felt very overwhelmed with ideas, is to jot things down. Make a list of all the things you want to change, and cross them off when you accomplish them - it was easy for me after that, cause I constantly thought about it. Your mileage may vary :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Green Publications

I love books and I LOVE magazines even more. I'm a junkie before I go to bed - you should see the pile on my side of the bed! I like to read and look at magazines and think up ideas, styles, etc - before sleeping. It's not the most green thing to do, but I recycle and have been trying to give away the magazines that I no longer read to others who might enjoy them. I thought I'd share with you some of the books and magazines I have and thoughts.

One of my first books, this is pretty much a non-toxic cleaning BIBLE. It has so much interesting information about everyday household things that you don't even realize. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to put their foot into a greener lifestyle. This definitely outlines so much, plus it's great to keep on the bookshelf for referencing!

I actually bought this a while back at Costco and didn't get around to reading it till recently. It's got lots of great simple tricks and changes to make your home and life greener. It breaks it down fairly easily from room to room and in incriments on how seriously you want to commit to the changes.

I didn't read this book all the way through like I did the last two - I kind of jumped around a bit, so it didn't feel "full" like the other two did to me. But it really has some great information, some even outside of the home, like investing and energy and putting your money where your mouth is, basically.

This is a really dark sounding book - because it does address a scary fact - petroleum - something most of the world relies on, is quickly diminishing. I picked this book up primarily because I want to live in a way where I don't need to rely on a non-renewable resource, and it's got some interesting recipes, and is a how-to-survival guide. I haven't been able to really read this because a lot of it addresses home things that I can't change, living in a condo. Maybe once I live in my own home, eh?

I actually picked this up at the Tower Books in Sacramento while it was closing down (RIP Tower Records!!) - it was my last visit to a store that my boyfriend and I spent a lot of time in when we still lived at home. I picked this up mainly because I loved the ideas I saw in the book - and I even tried the butternut squash recipe in the book (although, I didn't quite blend it well enough and didn't turn out the way I wanted it to). The author, Danny Seo, also has a blog. :)


Now, magazines! If you ask my boyfriend, I have way too many magazines for my own good. But I love them, their ever changing information, pretty pictures and current articles.

Organic Style was one of my FAVORITE magazines, until it died. I used to go to the library and check out a ton of them. Unfortunately, they don't carry it at my local library anymore, but I love looking at the back issues that I have. One of my favorite ones was from March 05 (I think), where they highlighted Alicia Silverstone (I love her!) and talked about green weddings.

Natural Health is another cool magazine - not quite as awesome as Organic Style though.

Natural Home I only have one issue of, so I haven't really been able to judge the magazine as a whole. So far, I enjoy the issues because it focuses more on the home, while Natural Health is obviously about health and Organic Style was about everything inbetween.


There are also magazines that aren't originally green, but because of the recent trend, have come out with green issues this month. These are also, coincidentally, two of my most favorite magazines in the world.

I love Domino - the colors, the style, the homes! It's an inspiring magazine, and I was thrilled when I saw this issue at my local bookstore. It has some great ideas - too bad a lot of them are quite pricey, but it also has great tips, and who said you have to get exactly what they get? Go to a thrift store!

Readymade - one of the magazines I actually subscribe to (I'm this [] close to subscribing to Domino), and I was ecstatic when I saw what this issue was about this month. Readymade was already great in green ways - a majority of their projects are about reusing things and remaking them into other things. This issue had a lot of cool ideas, but I honestly didn't feel like I could put many of them into fair use. And didn't feel that radically different than their other issues. A good effort though!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Java Log

We finally got around to trying out some Java Logs today and disappointingly, no, they don't make your house smell like a coffee shop. But they DO burn 7 times cleaner than regular logs do, and burn just as long. The one we used today lasted for about 3 hours, which is perfect since we don't sit by the fireplace all that long anyway!

You can find them at most grocery stores now - I've seen Ralph's carry them, as well as Longs Drugs for about $4 a log.

Living the Green Life

Making the decision to live a green life is sometimes hard living in a world where green isn't so mainstream (yet!). I decided to create this blog to help others - posting about products, reviews, adventures and just things that my boyfriend and I have been doing to have a greener lifestyle. Obviously this is still in the beginning stages, but I'm hoping to get some great stuff up and out there - not just living day to day, but for other situations, like weddings (obviously, since they are such a huge part of my life!) among other things.

I have so much that I want to begin with, but it's hard to start just anywhere, when you want to make posts that have meaning in each one. I guess I can start a little about what I do.

I'm a wedding photographer living in San Diego - and lately I've been trying to think up ways to give back in green ways. I've found this website 1% for the Planet, which is basically an organization that businesses join, pledging to give at least 1% of their income/sales to environmental causes. I think this is awesome, and something I really want to get into. I guess my own apprehension is that I really don't know where to start! Joining something like this feels like such a big thing to me, and kind of intimidating, I guess. It really shouldn't be, since it's meant for good, yes? I already emailed them, and they sent back information, which I haven't really been able to sit down and read just yet. I'm hoping soon that I can join them though.

I think another reason why I'm feeling so apprehensive about the whole thing is that I don't feel good about my own money - especially this year - business is slow. I'm horrible at bookkeeping, and money watching. I'm trying my very best right now though.

We'll see, won't we? :)