Sunday, February 5, 2012

2011 Resolution #2 ... Go Green (Part 2)

As previously stated in 2011 Resolution #2 ... Go Green (Part 1) - I have been doing many things to become more eco-friendly.

Part 2 of of my Go Green Resolution in 2011 was to Use Eco-Friendly Household and Cleaning Products. I have to say this was fairly easy. See below for some great products that I have found. I hope to continue adding to my list...

HOUSEHOLD and GENERAL - Cleaners and Cloth Rags
For everyday cleaning - we use old Rags and Towels to clean up messes. I can honestly say I have not bought Paper Towel in years! And sometimes all you need is a little water to clean something up. I have also found Many Great uses for Vinegar and Baking Soda - which I always have in the house. These 2 products are also great, because they are cheap!

Baking Soda: ARM and HAMMER Baking Soda - 13.5 lb. bag

Vinegar: Bakers and Chefs Vinegar

It Comes out of the Tap ... lol
Cut up Old Towels or T-Shirts

KITCHEN - Dish Soap and Cloth Towels
Swapping Dish Soaps was no problem. I have used Mrs Meyers and Seventh Generation and found that both worked great. I love the various scents that Mrs Meyers has to offer - and have even tried some of their other products - including Countertop Spray. We also have a large collection of Kitchen Towels, Washcloths & Cloth Napkins - Most of which are from Estate Sales, Rummages or Etsy!
Dish Soap: Seventh Generation Dish Liquid or  Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap
Countertop SprayMrs. Meyer's Clean Day Counter Top Spray
Dishwasher Detergent: Can anyone recommend a product?

BATHROOM - Cleaners and Cloth Rags

Same as with the Kitchen, swapping cleaners was not a problem. With a little elbow grease, anything is easy to clean. We use a traditional Toilet Brush, you don't need anything fancy. We use various cleaning products from Bio Kleen Bac Out - including the Bathroom Cleaning and General Purpose Enzyme Cleaner. We also re-purpose old towels as rags for cleaning the bathroom and other areas of our house.
Toilet Brush: Casabella Bowl Brush Set
Bathroom Cleaner: Biokleen Bac Out Bathroom Cleaner Spray
General Purpose: Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator
Toilet Bowl: Can anyone recommend a product?

LAUNDRY ROOM - Detergent and Dryer Balls
I have sensitive skin and have always tried to use more natural detergent - so as not to irritate it. Currently I am using ECOs for Everyday Laundry Cleaning. During the summer we hang all of our clothing outside - to air dry. In the winter, I do have have an indoor drying rack, but also use the dryer. I currently have some Nellie's Dryer balls (instead of dryer sheets) - but would like to try Wool Dryer balls.
Laundry Detergent: ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent Magnolia and Lily
Dryer Balls: Nellie's Dryer Balls

Any other recommendations? Have a great product I should try? I would LOVE to hear from you :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2011 Resolution #2 ... Go Green (Part 1)

2011 Resolution #2 ... Go Green (Part 1)

Okay - This may seem 'a little broad' ... but let me explain. Going green, being eco-friendly ... is nothing new to me, but I want to do more.  I didn't want to become overwhelmed by doing it all at once, as I wanted to ingrain my earth friendly practices into my everyday life.

One area that was new from me in 2011 - was Body Care products. I wanted to quite using harsh chemicals - as it would be better for me, my family and the environment. This is still a work in progress - but I would like to share the items that I am currently using, how I got to where I am and I'm hoping to get some suggestions for even better items!

HAIR CARE - Shampoo and Conditioner:
Currently I only use Shampoo and Conditioner. I do not use any styling products, a hair dryer or dyes. Over the last year I have worked my way down to only washing my hair once every 2 to 3 days. To get to this point, I started by Swapping between my old, harsh shampoo to a new sulfate and paraben-free shampoo every other day that I washed my hair. From there, I started to skip a day of washing on occasion and then made it a regular practice for several weeks. And then I gave up my harsh shampoo all-together. I now use a more eco-friendly sulfate and paraben free shampoo ever 2 to 3 days. I have to say, my hair never looked better. I did the same thing with conditioner - and when I feel like I need it, I use one with Tea Tree oil.
Shampoo: Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo for Frequent Use, 11-Ounce Bottle
Conditioner: Tea Tree Oil Therapy Conditioner - 8 oz,(Jason Natural)

BODY CARE - Body Wash, Deodorant, Lotion, Shaving and Bubble Bath!
Body wash was a fairly easy thing to change. I was able to make the switch by using the Old & New every other day, and then just completely switching over to the new. I like the Grapefruit scent to the Kirks - as it gave me an awake feeling. I would like to add that I do have sensitive skin & have on occasion reacted to new Laundry Detergents, etc - I have found that Castile Soap w/ Tea Tree oil is great for cleaning these areas, reducing irritation and promoting quick healing. Deodorant was probably one of the most difficult to switch. I have very sensitive under-arms but knew that I needed to get away from the Aluminum laden product that I was using. I felt like I was addicted to it, as it was the only thing that had worked for me and I was afraid of change, as I did not want an adverse allergic reaction. Here is how it went. I started using Arm & Hammer Natural Deodorant- as I knew that it was free of aluminum. Prior to the swap I would apply my Anti-Perspireant/Deodorant twice a day - right after my shower (at night) & right before work (in the morning). After making the switch - I decided that I would start to apply it only in the morning before work. WOW did I smell for the first month or 2. I think my body needed to cleanse itself, as I found myself washing my under-arms 2 or 3 times a day - in order to avoid smelling. I am very happy that I did that, because now (a year later) I can go a day or 2 without deodorant, and I am fine! I am happy with my Choice of Deodorant, as it got me away from aluminum, but I have discovered that my 'Natural' Deodorant isn't as natural as I would like it to be & am hoping that someone can recommend some other options. Lotion has been my easiest & hardest area to change, as I actually rarely use it. I am currently using CJ's Creamy Body lotion as hand lotion. And Palmer's Cocoa Butter for stretch marks (new baby!). I also bought some Babo Botanicals for the New Baby & ended up using the Entire Bottle of Bubble Bath, I just loved it! Shaving is interesting. Over the winter, I try to limit the amount of times I shave my legs - as it is simply not necessary. I also use a razor with replaceable head, so that I am not throwing out the entire thing. I also find that they last much longer than you would expect, just be careful. As for Shaving Cream - I now use Kiss My Face Moisture Shave and Love It! It is great for sensitive skin and the packaging is recyclable too!
Body WashKirks Original Coco Body Wash Grapefruit Ginger 16 oz
Castile Soap w/ Tea TreeDr. Bronner - Castile Soap Tea Tree or  Desert Essence Liquid Soap
DeodorantArm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant, Unscented
Bubble Bath: Babo Botanicals Babo Botanicals Lavender Meadowsweet
Body ButterPalmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter For Stretch Marks
Hand/Body LotionCJ's Creamy Body Lotion (Coconut Lime Dream)
Shaving CreamKiss My Face Fragrance Free Moisture Shave

FACIAL CARE - Face Wash and Lotion:
Facial Care was very hard to change, as I felt like I had very sensitive, temperamental skin. My skin also seems to change, as the weather changes, which makes it difficult to know if a product is actually working or not for me. I do have some mild/occassional acne and I am still hoping to find a more natural remedy for this. I was able to switch my face wash & face lotion and I have to say, my face feels less oily now that I have gotten away from one that contained Salycylic Acid (which is for acne treatment). It is however winter now - so we will see what happens in spring!
Face Wash: Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Facial Cleanser with Cotton Extract
Face Lotion: Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Daily Moisturizing Cream with Cotton Extract
Acne Treatment: Looking for suggestions

ORAL CARE - Toothpaste:
Currently I use Tom's Of Maine - I have been using this for quite some time and really like it. I like that I can brush my teeth and then go drink a cup of coffee or eat some food without that weird taste in your mouth. I don't use mouthwash & I really should floss ... are there any eco options for floss?
Toothpaste: Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh Long Lasting Fresh Breath Fluoride Toothpaste
Floss: Looking for suggestions

Overall - another great way to 'Be Green' is to simply use less. You may find that you are using too much shampoo, conditioner or even body wash than you actually need. I found that this to be very true with Body Wash for me - and now use about half of my original amount.

Have you tried similar product? Do you have any suggestions? Please let me  know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Year's Resolution #1 from 2011: De-Clutter & Donate

Prior to 2011, I never made New Year's Resolutions - However, I decided it was time to start.  

2011 Resolution #1: De-Clutter & Donate The plan was to get a BIG BOX and put ONE item in everyday to Donate to a Local Charity. I have to say, It was a SUCCESS! In the beginning, I kept a large Cardboard Box in my Kitchen - so that I would see it everyday as Reminder of what I was doing. The great thing was - it worked much better than I thought! Everyday for the first couple weeks I found myself cleaning out a cabinet or drawer to find items I no longer needed! I was cleaning out cupboards that I had not looked in for a couple years. I discovered forgotten items, brand new items & useless items. I found items to sell in my Etsy Store and on Ebay.

After the initial burst of energy, to De-Clutter & Donate, I was able to continue cleaning out Drawers, Shelves & Cabinets throughout the year - in an effort to better organize my life. While the large box is no longer in my kitchen, I now keep a small bag of items in the closet that I am constantly adding to as I find something. AND I can Honestly say I was able to donate OVER 365 Items (1 Item a Day) to the local Thrift Store. As I sit here & begin my taxes for 2011, I have all of my donation sheets and am Very Happy to report that I donated over $1500 worth of items, which feels great!

It's such a great feeling to have accomplished my goal and now it is just a part of everyday life :) Lara

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Enter To WIN $25 to Retro ReDesign!

It's been awhile since I have posted to my blog! In order to 'get the ball rolling' I am hosting a giveaway for a $25 Gift Card to my Etsy Shop!

I sell a variety of Vintage Household, Retro Clothing & Costume Jewelry! New Items are added daily!

Check it out Retro ReDesign on Etsy!

Contest Ends 1/30. Winner will be notified via email and have 72 Hours to Respond.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vintage Cookbook Recipe: Bacon and Tomato Shortcake

Today I made "Bacon and Tomato Shortcake" from my Vintage Cookbook titled "Quick and Easy Meals for Two" by Louella G. Souer (Assoc. Food Editor, Ladies Home Journal). This cookbooks has "Over 200 tempting, easy to prepare menus - over 500 up-to-the-minute, time-saving, kitchen-tested recipes - for brides, young marrieds, career girls and all busy homemakers."

Here is the Recipe:
"Add 1/2 cup milk to 1 can condensed mushroom soup. Add 2 tbsp finely minced onion and 2 tbsp finely minced green pepper. Heat together. Meanwhile, saute 4 strips bacon with 2 thich tomato slices (floured first). Make fresh toast, put a fried tomato slice on each piece of toast. Top with 2 slices bacon. Pour the hot sauce over all and sprinkle with grated cheese."

The things I did slightly different were: used red pepper, instead of green. I also chopped up extra bell pepper and onion and sauted it in a small amount of the bacon fat before adding to the soup/milk mix. Additionally, there was way too much sauce and I did not use it all. Either way, my husband loved it! View More Photos of the Preparation & Finished Product on Flickr.