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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Alabama's Drinking Water Is In Danger

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...Image via Wikipedia
What comes to mind when you see the word "water"?  Do you picture clear, shimmering streams?  Or do you visualize the beautiful, turquoise waters of the ocean?  No matter what images or feelings you have about water, there's no doubt about it- we all need clean water to live.  If you live in Alabama, it is possible that your drinking water could become polluted...very soon.

The Black Warrior River System, the largest watershed within the state of Alabama, is unique because it doesn't flow from just one source, but three primary forks which come together to create a mighty river: the Sipsey (western) Fork, Mulberry (center) Fork, and Locust (eastern) Fork.  The Mulberry Fork is a current area of concern for pollution.

The Black Warrior Riverkeeper, one of the key organizations dedicated to keeping your drinking water clean, opposes the Shepherd Bend Mine, which would discharge wastewater from coal mining into Mulberry Fork only 800 feet (not miles) from a major Birmingham Water Works Board intake facility that supplies water daily to 200,000 customers in the Birmingham-Metro area.

On February 16, 2010, the Black Warrior Riverkeeper sent an open letter to the University of Alabama System asking that they not lease land or mineral rights to Shepherd Bend, LLC for a surface mine:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Versatile Vinegar: 12 Tips For Doing Laundry A Greener, Cheaper Way!

Front-loading washing machineImage via Wikipedia

You want fresher and cleaner laundry without spending a ton of money, right?  How about fresher, cleaner laundry done a greener and cheaper way?  As you may know from my previous posts, white distilled vinegar is very versatile and can be used in pretty much every area of your home: kitchen, bathroom, carpets, and other flooring.

Here are 12 ways that white vinegar can be used to boost your laundry:

  1. Get Your Laundry Cleaner!
  2. Boost the cleaning power of your detergent by adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.  This will remove the alkalies in soaps and detergents and also prevent yellowing, act as a fabric softener and reduce static cling!  Vinegar also kills mold and mildew.
  3. Keep colors from running by soaking in vinegar before washing.  No husband wants his white t-shirts to turn pink, right?
  4. Make dingy white socks and dishcloths white again by adding 1 cup of vinegar to a large pot of water.  Bring to a rolling boil, then drop in the items.  Let them soak overnight.
  5. Got fuzzy sweaters? Decrease that pesky lint by adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  6. Remove tough stains* like: barbecue or spaghetti sauce, coffee, ketchup, chocolate, jam, coke, wine and more!  Gently rub the stain with vinegar then wash.

Toxins Aren't Sexy: Know What's In Your Fragrance!

Multi fragrancesImage via Wikipedia

Do you know what's in your perfume?  Most of us who are trying to live a greener, healthier life don't consider our fragrances to be a problem.  Personally, I admit that I don't like to think about it, being a self-proclaimed "fragrance junkie."  When asked to do a product review for Agape & Zoe Naturals, I read founder Patricia Malemes story on how she was inspired to create all-natural fragrances, which prompted me to take another look.

Did you know that since fragrance is considered a "trade secret", companies don't have to tell us what's in it?  This is scary, especially since there are often hundreds of synthetic chemical compounds found in fragrances.
Even so-called "unscented" products may contain chemicals that are used to cover up the odor of other chemicals.  These are called "masking" fragrances.

The folks at The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics have provided a list of some of the hidden toxins that may be present in products containing synthetic fragrances.  They include:

Allergens and sensitizers:  1 in 50 people may become sensitized and suffer damage to their immune system due to exposure to synthetic fragrance, according to the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products.  Once a person becomes sensitized to an ingredient, they can remain that way for their lifetime, which means they will have to endure allergic reactions every time they are exposed to it.  Fragrances are among the top five known allergens and have been known to trigger asthma attacks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Agape & Zoe Naturals: A Breath of Fresh Air

I am a self-professed "fragrance junkie" -perfumes, essential oils, scented candles- I love them all!  So you can imagine my excitement when Patricia of Agape & Zoe Naturals asked if I'd be interested in doing a product review.  Of course, my answer was "YES!"
Patricia Ann Malemes, Founder of Agape and Zoe Naturals

Founder, the lovely Patricia Anne Malemes started Agape & Zoe Naturals (agape means "love" and zoe "life" in Greek) in 2009 after researching and finding out about the numerous harmful ingredients that are in most mainstream health and beauty products today, such as, phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, and others.  After her epiphany, Patricia collected all of the offending products and got rid of them- even her expensive designer perfumes, which were also laden with toxic chemicals (these she sold on eBay).  From that point on, Patricia was determined to wear natural perfumes that were phthalate-free.  Not really happy with the natural perfumes that were currently out there, she created her own line of fragrances that contain only two ingredients: organic grain alcohol and 100% pure essential oils.  The result is natural simplicity!  I was fortunate to receive samples of 8 fragrances, including one male fragrance.

Aftos 1 oz. cologne
Aftos, which means "him" in Greek, is a unique spicy scent of vetiver and bergamot, with a slight hint of vanilla and magnolia.  My husband flipped when I had him test this scent, exclaiming "I love this scent. What is it?" and taking off with the bottle (I haven't seen it since, lol).  It smells really great on him, too, but the best part is- it's chemical-free! You see, Hubby has allergies and many fragrances do not agree with him, making him sneeze and cough all day.  He has not experienced any issues while wearing Aftos (yay!).

Beauty, one of my favorites scents out of the bunch, is a rich fragrance with vanilla, sandalwood and a hint of lemon.  It's no wonder I liked this fragrance so much, it combines my three favorite scents!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Green Goes Simple: Conservation at Home

Green Goes Simple

How Healthy Is Your Bedroom?

By Marisa Belger for Green Goes Simple

The kitchen may be the most popular room in the house, but the bedroom is where you clock the most time. Human beings dedicate one third of their lives to sleeping. With good reason: Sleeping refreshes the body and mind, recharging you for the next day. And while you can’t control many of the factors that interfere with slumber -- noisy neighbors, early-bird toddlers, antsy dogs -- a few simple changes can transform your ordinary bedroom into a snoozing sanctuary.

Emily Anderson, eco-style expert and author of Eco-Chic Home, has developed a 10-step plan to improve your bedroom health.

1. Leave your shoes at the door.
Going shoeless does more than keep your house clean. “The rubber on the soles of your shoes picks up chemicals and toxins from the pavement,” says Anderson. “You don’t want to bring those things into your bedroom.”

2. Manage your mattress.
Rotate your mattress every six months. “Rotating gets rid of dust mites and toxins and will prolong the life of the mattress,” says Anderson. Flip the mattress both horizontally and vertically. Forget what side you’re on?  Anderson recommends pinning a note to the foot of the bed.

3. Chill out.
“Sleeping in a cooler temperature is not just the green thing to do -- you actually sleep better when the thermostat is down,” says Anderson. Aim for 68 degrees in the winter. Toes still cold? Toss on an extra blanket.

4. Cover with curtains.
Window coverings are key. “You lose a tremendous amount of warm and cool air through windows,” notes Anderson. But it’s not the cracks that are the culprit. “Most windowpanes are not engineered to be energy-saving,” says Anderson. He recommends choosing curtains over blinds because they can be easily removed and washed. “And they actually cover more of the window.”

5. Don’t ignore the closet.
When was the last time you took inventory of your wardrobe? Exactly. Anderson suggests digging into your closet and pulling out what you no longer need. “Getting rid of excess is one of the best ways to save money,” she says. “You become more conscious of the things you own.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Make New Connections With Blog Hop Friday!

Happy Friday, everybody!  The Think Green Hop Along, hosted by Tips 4 Green, is on hiatus this week, but I've found a new Hop that I thought I'd share with you- "Hop Along Friday!"

Hop Along Friday is hosted by My New Life As MomChubby Cheeks ThinksThis Adventure Our Life, Belly Charms and Living On Love & Cents!

It would be really great to follow and also link up to Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Blog Hops are all about making friends and having fun so come join us!

The hosts will also reward you for participating! Each week they will use random.org to pick a
"featured blog" of the week from the previous weeks link ups! 
So, if you want your blog featured, link up! 
Here's how you can join in on the fun;
  • Link up to your blog using the inlinkz link list (see below for link).
  • Follow the host/hostesses located in the first 5 slots.
  • Follow any other blogs that you feel appropriate! :)
  • If you get a new follower, please feel free to reciprocate the love!
There is a new list every Friday, so please remember to come back and link up!

From the hosts:  "We understand that not everyone has time to follow and comment on every Hop Along Friday Participant, just do what you can and are willing to do. We will do the same! Take your time and go at your own pace."

To get started, click here!