Monday, December 29, 2008

Best Earth-Friendly Bags of 2008

I’m proud to be evolving into quite the eco-bag lady! I have amassed an amazing collection of various earth-friendly bags - canvas, bioplastic and organic cotton totes for shopping; a wonderfully useful computer bag made of recycled plastic bottles; and a couple of great purses that make a fashion statement while keeping all kinds of materials out of our landfills.

There are so many reasons to NOT use plastic or even paper bags for shopping and to adopt a few reusable bags to handle most shopping needs. There are also great reasons to buy some of these great funky stylish accessory bags that are made from recycled materials - keeping more non-biodegradable materials out of landfills.

The Eco-Bag Lady’s Picks for Best Eco-Bags of 2008

I have gotten so many bags as gifts, for review and I have even purchased a couple! It is hard to pick only a few, but these represent ones that I’ve not only tested and liked, but use frequently or regularly:

Save the Plastic Bottles - Save the World: Laptop Bag
In addition to using primarily a stainless steel water bottle these days, I did my part this year, by using a laptop bag that is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles! Act2 GreenSmart has a Bottles 2 Bags line that is awesome. Read my full review to get more details.

Eco-Bags for Style
gg2g has kept literally thousands of pounds of billboard materials out of our landfills, while creating a variety of chic bags. More on gg2g and other cool bags.

My very cool and frequently in use English Retreads purse is a social lubricant. It is as useful for carrying stuff as it is interesting to discuss. Read my full review of this great bag.

Shopping in Good Conscience
EcoBags has a series of great ‘totes’ for shopping and hauling stuff (read the review and see the awful picture of me), but they have partnered with, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to take action in their communities, to create a great new bag - Yes We Can! Will! It is on sale for the holidays.

Oooooh, the Goody Green Bag is so cute! I’ve got Dottie and I love it. They fold up nice, neat and compact.

So many great bags . . . so little shopping to do!

eat. blog. be merry!
GD Meg

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Organic Skincare of 2008

I have had the wonderful privilege to test many natural and organic skincare products over the last couple of years. If I had any illusions about how sensitive my skin really is, they are now shattered. I’ve had adverse reactions to some of the most ‘clean’ sounding products out there. So, as I’ve said before in previous posts on skincare reviews, I am like the canary in the coal mine - if there is anything even slightly off about a product, my skin will react - with blooming color usually!

I still can’t keep all the ‘good for me’ from ‘you DON’T want this on your skin’ ingredients straight. I start breaking out in a rash trying to pronounce the name of some of these ingredients - both natural and synthetic. So, if you are wanting a breakdown of the ingredients and what to use and what not to use, please don’t expect that kind of detail here. I’ll give you a couple of good links at the end of the post for better resources.

I do look for simple, organic ingredients that are put together with some consciousness, which perhaps is why I do well with stuff made from biodynamically grown herbs. It is easy for me - it is either clean or I break out, but I would encourage others who may have heartier skin to do additional homework on safe ingredients.

Meg’s Organic Skincare Favs for 2008

Facial Cleanser
Right now and for quite a while, my one and only is Beyond Organic Skincare’s Natural Detoxifying Cleanser. It is a new experience in face washing - smooth, gentle. I always want to sigh when I’m done. They are one of the biodynamic farmer-based companies I really love, based in England.

Facial Hydration
Instead of using traditional ‘toner’ on my face, I’ve learned to use a gentle misting spray and so far, my very favorite are the Healing Hydration Mists from actress Marsha Mason’s biodynamic herb farm in New Mexico, Resting in the River. I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Mason - read or watch the interview!

Facial Firming
I wouldn’t have necessarily tried this on my own, but the folks at Mod Skin Labs sent it to me and I fell in love with it - Face Sculpt Serum Excalibur DMAE & Blue Green Algea. I guess I’m in denial that I may be at an age where stuff like this can be helpful! I know there are similar products out there, but I have avoided them, because there seems to be a lot of harsh synthetic materials in them. Mod Skin is very clean.

Facial Moisturizing
For daily use, I’ve gotten very comfortable with Beyond Organic’s Organic Moisturizing Day Cream. Leaves my face feeling like soft, silky velvet. This is one of those products that can destroy my face, but Beyond Organics is so clear, I’ll keep using this one as long as possible!

Body Wash
Can’t say enough good things about Shea Terra Organic’s African Lemongrass Indigenous Black Soap Elixir. Well, it is a mouthful - who needs to say more? Honestly, it is a unique and divine experience. I don’t usually use body wash, other than my wonderful handmade soap from my local bee lady, but this soap made by the Yoruba Tribe of West Africa is exotic and amazing.

Body Scrub
Still on the Shea Terra Organics binge, their Miombo Mango Dead Sea Shea Butter Salt Scrub is going to become a regular fixture in my shower/bath.

Body Butter
Marsha Mason has created an amazing formula with her Healing Body butter from Resting in the River. Among the organic ingredients (including shea butter of course) is spilanthes flower, which has some amazing properties. Ms. Mason is among the few using it in her organic skincare lines.

eat. blog. be merry!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Green Gorilla Inspires Kids to Go Green

The groovy animated kids in this series are fun, musical and informative. With the help of their mysterious Green Gorilla friend, they fight global climate change one issue at a time. This particular episode blows the lid of the topic of so-called 'clean coal'.

A great way to open up a dialog with kids about some of the complex issues they will inherit and be responsible for all too soon.

Share this fun message with kids of all ages!

eat. blog. be merry!

GD Meg

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Taking Rubber Off the Road & Making it Fashionable!

Yes. That is an image of me . . .

I got this English Retreads bag from one of my favorite green cyber-shopping spots, I love because they do a fairly thorough evaluation of their products, reviewing and rating all aspects of a product’s sustainability. This bag got 49 on its sustainability score (see the details of how this bag was rated).

This bag is very simple, compact and works for basics - small wallet, some makeup, keys and cell phone. While it doesn’t have all those organizational bells, whistles and zippers on the inside, it pays off in ‘feel good’ points.

Who would’ve thought to make something so cool from stinky used tires?
Heather English, founder of English Retreads, came up with the idea while floating in an inner tube down a river in Colorado (all great ideas come from pure, relaxing moments like Heather’s!). Heather was and presumably still is a devoted vegan and wanted to find a great purse that didn’t involve leather. Taking the seemingly endless supply of tire inner tubes that plague our landfills and turning them into useful and stylish items is a brilliant stroke of recycling creativity.

In the 2 or 3 months I’ve been using this bag, I’ve had some pretty interesting conversations with strangers. WARNING: Don’t wear this bag if you don’t want to meet people! Actually, a few of my friends have already been inspired to purchase bags by English Retreads!

This particular bag - good for holiday gift perhaps?

Look for my eco-bag lady review of my favorite bags of 2008 coming later this month!

eat. blog. be merry!