July 13, 2015 Health & Beauty

Home-made beauty products

“Make your own beauty products?  Sounds hard, but it’s actually quite simple.  Aside from saving a little money, many commercially produced beauty products are packed with nasty chemicals that can do damage to your body.  As mentioned in our Caring About Personal Care article  (link to article), there are Parabens, Phthalates, Tricolosan, Oxybenzone and Formaldehyde in many of the beauty products we use every day. We are Doing A bit Better here by making a few of our own. We promise these DYI beauty products are as easy as going to your kitchen and pulling a few things together.

Homemade Perfume

An easy way to smell delicious in a snap is to grab a sauce pan, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix the two, heat them up and you’ll have a sweet homemade fragrance just like that.  Pour the rest in a glass jar for continued use.

Use Vegetable Oil to Condition Your Hair
Is there anything vegetable oil can’t do?  In addition to being used for cooking and fueling some cars, it can also work as an amazing conditioner for your hair.  Grab some all-natural oil (organic is the best), pour in your hand, rub at the scalp and then comb through to the ends.  Let sit a few minutes and rinse.  You’ll be left with soft conditioned hair!

Exfoliate with Strawberries
We can all use exfoliation once and a while – after all, it’s a great way to make your skin feel baby-fresh.  So instead of reaching for store bought exfoliant, why not just grab some strawberries?  Strawberries have natural fruit acid that helps in exfoliation of your skin. All you need is 8-10 berries, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt (sea, kosher, etc).  Mix all the ingredients together and then massage it on your hands, feet, face or any place that needs a gentle scrub.

Make Your Own All Natural Lip Gloss
Looking for a clean, fresh gloss to sooth those dry lips and make them shine too?  Make your own lip gloss by mixing 1 teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Stir until smooth, then use right away, storing the rest for later.

Homemade Deodorant
Homemade deodorant is easy as sprinkling a little baking soda onto a damp wash cloth, and applying it to your underarms. It’ll keep you fresh throughout the day!

 

These are just a few ways to look and feel good naturally and to know that you are Doing A bit Better!”

Advertisment
Recycle

Do a Bit Better with Homemade Dryer Sheets

We love this eco-friendly project from Pinning Gals. Save money and the planet by creating your own reusable natural dryer... Read

We love this eco-friendly project from Pinning Gals. Save money and the planet by creating your own reusable natural dryer sheets. Commercially produced dryer sheets are made with lots of chemicals, but you can use an eco-friendly liquid fabric softener and upcycled fabric from old clothes to create homemade dryer sheets that can be used again and again. Check out the step-by-step instructions here.

Advertisment
Family

Very easy ways to DAbB for your home. Seriously, these are very easy.

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This... Read

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This is what came back:

For your kids, buy crayons made of soybean oil, not paraffin

Switch to a manual can opener.  Yes, a manual…you can do it.

Invest in a roasting pan instead of using disposable ones.  You will save money in the long run, and honestly, it is so much easier to pull out food in something sturdy.  (We don’t need to tell you the amount of time we have dropped food on the floor from a flimsy aluminum one).

Buy a bigger jug of milk. If you only use half a gallon at a time, you can pour half the milk into a carafe and freeze the rest. Then about a day or two before you need it simply put in the fridge.  And yes, it tastes the same.

Stop throwing away your dryer lint! Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.  Crazy-but true.

Clean your refrigerator coils — vacuum out the dust and wipe with a damp cloth. You’ll be surprised at how much nasty stuff accumulates down there!

Put a cover on your pool when you’re not using it. Not only will it keep the water cleaner, but it will keep it from evaporating, resulting in saving water.

Advertisment
Food

Monday Tip of the Week – When to Choose Organic

“Obviously, it’s a better choice to “choose organic” as much as possible.  But when organic choices aren’t available, or don’t... Read

“Obviously, it’s a better choice to “choose organic” as much as possible.  But when organic choices aren’t available, or don’t necessarily make it into the grocery budget, which organic products should we consider over others?

Meat, Dairy & Eggs
Organic meat, dairy & eggs cannot be raised with growth hormones, and the animals aren’t fed with anything grown with pesticides. Even more importantly, animals raised organically aren’t given antibiotics, which means they don’t develop any antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Potatoes & Peppers
Non-organic potatoes are treated with twice the amount of chemicals, including pesticides and fungicides.  Fungicides are added directly to the roots (which is, the potato itself).  Peppers, alternatively, have such thin skins that they absorb pesticides more quickly than other fruits and vegetables.

Baby Food
It pretty much goes without saying that, when it comes to our little ones, the food we put in them should be just as gentle as the products we use on them.  Babies don’t have the immune systems we do and can’t handle the harsh chemicals on food as well as we can.

So when you make your next grocery list, consider investing a little more in the important things – You’ll be glad you did.”

Advertisment
Housewares

Corks, Pas Deux – Bourbon-cork Coaster / Trivet

“After our last article about crafts for reusing corks, we couldn’t help but get excited to try something. We opted... Read

“After our last article about crafts for reusing corks, we couldn’t help but get excited to try something. We opted for bourbon corks, this time, as they’re usually made of real cork (instead of that synthetic stuff), and have the neat wooden tops that give them a real rustic look. It also helped that we had a few laying around.

We also opted for ease, in this case. There are plenty of materials to use if you want to avoid using any sort of bonding agent – but thanks to the magic of a hot glue gun, we were able to whip this coaster up in about 10 minutes. And it shows.

What You’ll Need
9 Corks of the same height
A hot-glue gun
hot-glue sticks
Right-angle
Jute twine (optional)

Steps
1. Using the right angle, glue the first two corks together.  If there’s a label on top of the wood, hopefully you’ll do a better job of lining them up than we did.  Continuing to use the straight edge to make clean lines, add additional corks one by one until you’ve created the desired shape.  Allow the glue to fully cool/dry before picking it back up.

2. Once all 9 corks are glued together, flip the coaster over and bind with jute twine. To do this, simply glue the end of the jute twine to center of one side of the coaster, and begin wrapping around the cork portion, alternating gluing on every other side.

Easy enough! Now you can enjoy a frosty beverage in style.

Advertisment
Environment

Monday Tip of the Week: Have a green Labor Day

Labor day is often the last big BBQ day of the season. As you enjoy your relaxing day off, don’t... Read

Labor day is often the last big BBQ day of the season. As you enjoy your relaxing day off, don’t forget to Do a Bit Better. It’s always best to use real dishes, but if you have to use paper plates, make sure they are made from recycled materials, and recycle them again! Same goes for utensils and cups. Here are some great options from Preserve, check them out!

 

Have a great holiday!

Advertisment
Environment

Buy Local Products

The farther that a product has to be shipped to a store for a customer, the more gasoline has to... Read

The farther that a product has to be shipped to a store for a customer, the more gasoline has to be used to get the product there. As we know, gasoline is detrimental to the environment and is the reason for many of the problems we face with our environment today. So how can we reduce these fossil fuels? It’s simple, support locally grown products! This will not only help out your economy, but it will also reduce the distance to be travelled to transport products. Less distance traveled equals less fossil fuels being used. Less fossil fuels being used equals happy planet!

Advertisment
Family

Monday Tip of the week: Send your kids to school with a waste-free lunch

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who... Read

Did you know that you can adopt an endangered species? There are a lot of animal lovers out there who just don’t have time to take care of a pet. A great way to help animals if you don’t have a lot of time is by adopting an endangered species. There are quite a few programs out there, but we love the World Wildlife Foundation (or WWF). There are a variety of animals and price ranges to choose from, so no matter how much (or little) you can spend, you’ll still be helping keep these animals alive and well. This is also a great project to do if you have kids–it’s never to early to teach them the importance of taking care of our world. Check out the WWF website for more information here.”We can’t believe it’s that time of year again–back to school! This year, pledge with your kids to have waste-free lunches. It is estimated that school lunches produce 67 pounds of waste per school year per child. Not only is a waste-free lunch great for the environment, but packing your child fresh foods instead of prepackaged is good for their bodies! A waste-free lunch requires the following:

  • Reusable lunch box (preferably bento style so you can easily say goodbye to plastic baggies)
  • Reusable utensils, napkin, water bottle
  • No prepackaged food–buy in bulk and section snacks off in the lunch box

Learn more about waste-free lunches at wastefreelunches.org so you can start Doing a Bit Better.

 “

Advertisment
Housewares

Baja Recycled Wine Glass- Set of 2

$20.00

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring... Read

It’s fiesta time! Our Baja Wine Glass is hand-crafted from 100% recycled glass. Bold lines of blue and green bring a simple, elegant style that’s perfect for every day or party time. These are made from thick, durable hand-blown glass that won’t break or tip over as easily as traditional glassware

Advertisment
Food

If Your Carrot has Traveled More Than You…That is a Problem

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending... Read

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending up on a plate?  This means the amount of fossil fuels consumed and the amount of carbon emissions is doing more harm to the environment than the broccoli is doing good for your liver.   Buying locally farmed produce does not mean you have to go to a Farmers Market (although it clearly is a great way!).  Simply log on to localharvest.org, sustainabletable.org or even the U.S. Department of Agriculture at ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map to find out where local produce is sold in your area.  Not only will you be doing better for you and your family, but supporting your local farms and community as well.

Advertisment
Environment

Chrysler Recognizes its Green Dealers

In a push to green-up an industry that’s already not-so-green, Chrysler has recognized 30 of its more eco-friendly auto dealers... Read

In a push to green-up an industry that’s already not-so-green, Chrysler has recognized 30 of its more eco-friendly auto dealers across the U.S. – and more than a third of which are in, you guessed it: California.  Some of the achievements recognized include:

– A 2,000 square foot solar system in Arkansas

– A heating system based on used motor oil from oil changes in Michigan

– Collection and recycling of rain water in Oklahoma

For a full list of the honored dealers (just in case you’re in the market for a new Chrysler), check out the press release.

Advertisment
Environment

Cloth > Paper

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel.... Read

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel. While effective, this habitat can take a toll on the environment. After all, they come from trees! Instead, why not find some old t-shirts stashed way back in your closet that you never wear anymore and use them like you would a paper towel. They get the job done, you use less paper, and you are able to repurpose an item that would have most likely been thrown away.

Advertisment
Environment

Look Swanky AND be Greener with Eco-Friendly Business Cards

“Okay, so we have a small love-affair with GreenerPrinter.com, and not to present too much of a sales pitch, we... Read

“Okay, so we have a small love-affair with GreenerPrinter.com, and not to present too much of a sales pitch, we would like to sing their praises just a little bit.

Eco-Friendly business cards are not something one just stumbles upon.  In fact, 5 years ago, you would likely not find one, even by means of a search engine.  Nowadays, there are a few companies out there that like to say they’re green, but how green are they really?

Here are a few boons to GreenerPrinter.com:

They use recycled paper – many of which are 100% recycled!
They don’t use chlorine to bleach their papers – which means no chlorine in any waste water
GreenerPrinter uses vegetable and other naturally-based inks, which means no VOC’s
(remember our article about natural paint?)
They have several green certifications for their materials and processes.  We could list them, or you could just view the green certifications here!

Okay.  We’re done swooning over these guys… for now.”

Advertisment
Recycle

Monday Tip of the Week – Electronics Recycling

Recycling isn’t just about plastics, glass and paper. Some of the biggest potential hazards to the environment are electronics that... Read

Recycling isn’t just about plastics, glass and paper. Some of the biggest potential hazards to the environment are electronics that end up in landfills. Those old computers, monitors, or cell phones can contain toxic chemicals and pollutants. The good news is that when you upgrade, it’s easy to recycle! Use this handy tool at greenergadgets.org to search by zip code for places you can safely recycle those old devices.

Advertisment
Recycle

Doing Better Than Your Next Door Neighbor

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans throw out nearly 5.5 billion pounds of electronics a year—such as TVs,... Read

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans throw out nearly 5.5 billion pounds of electronics a year—such as TVs, stereos, cell phones and even computers.  As a results, million of pounds of chemicals and heavy metals end up in the ground.  Despite local agencies making it rather clear how easy it is to recycle electronics, our neighbors have yet to catch on.  So the next time you are at your next block party and you overhear someone talking about how much they hate their blender tell them to go to www.mygreenelectronics.org to find a local recycling center in their area.  The site also provides a list of electronics, from laptops to baby monitors, that are easier on the environment  and your energy bill.

Advertisment
Solar

Help your CA neighbors Do a Bit Better

Are you up on your California state law? Trees that are tall enough to block solar panels can cost the... Read

Are you up on your California state law?

Trees that are tall enough to block solar panels can cost the tree owners up to $1,000 fines (daily!). State Law requires homeowners to keep their trees, or other plant-life, from shading neighbor’s solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is at it’s strongest.

Help your neighbors Do a Bit Better, it’s the law!

Advertisment
Solar

Other Ways to “Go Solar”

“Solar panels are everywhere these days; on your roof, in the fields, on the sides of buildings, on eco-friendly cars,... Read

Solar panels are everywhere these days; on your roof, in the fields, on the sides of buildings, on eco-friendly cars, and even sprawling across hillsides and mountain sides.  You may or may not have noticed that they’re a few more places now.  Check out these additional ways to utilize Solar (no leasing model required):

“Array” Solar Backpack from Voltaic

 

This behemoth of a backpack can charge your laptop while on the go – and store it too. That way, you can charge up while riding your bike, at an outdoor conference, or while camping with the family. It also charges cellphones, portable gaming systems, and tablets – and at a modest $389, it’s a small price to pay to have independence from the outlet.

“Brighta30” Street Lamp

Cities are rapidly adopting this new way to light the streets. It’s not only green, but extremely cost efficient when you consider how many streetlights are in your town or city. We also see them coming up across college and corporate campuses.  The Brighta30 (featured above) is from Greenshine, who specializes in solar lighting solutions – from garden lights to full-scale city lighting.

“Soulra” Solar Powered Boombox from Eton

Solar Powered Boomboxes are a great idea in the summer, considering you don’t have to have an outlet to power it – making your family picnic or weekend bonfire the happenin’ place to be! This one from Eton is only $150 and is iPod and iPhone compatible, but also has an audio input line. Oh and for a limited time, it comes with a free messenger bag to carry it!

There you have it – if you’re not ready to go solar (or even if you are…), there are great ways to still show your love for Photovoltaics!”

Advertisment
Food

Easy Tips to Green up your next BBQ party

Whether you are celebrating our nation’s birthday or having friends over, we have five easy tips to make your next... Read

Whether you are celebrating our nation’s birthday or having friends over, we have five easy tips to make your next BBQ party a bit better.

  • Party Food – Shop at a local farmer’s market for your BBQ ingredients. You can usually find great local organic produce, breads & meats.  If you can’t find what you are looking for then go to your grocer and look for products which are made/farmed in your local area.  Buying local is best for you and your local economy.
  • Tableware – Buy biodegradable dishes (we should link this to a CJ brand).  Great for outdoor use & can be tossed in the trash with little guilt.
  • Napkins – Use washable cloth napkins to reduce paper waste.  If you want a bit more style to your BBQ go and buy bandannas.  They are usually rather inexpensive-we find them $5.00 for a twelve pack-and you can give them out to your guests as a party favor.
  • Compost – So easy.  Just have your compost bag ready for all leftovers food scraps & other organic trash.  Another hint, we often will buy compostable flatware and dishes so all trash ends up in one bag.
  • Grill – A solar powered grill is the most eco-friendly way to grill these days, but if that’s not an option for you opt for a grill that burns natural gas rather than charcoal–it’s cleaner!
Advertisment
Family

The Eco-Friendly Easter Basket – Fact or Fiction?

“Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s on its way!  What better way to Do A bit Better this year, than to prepare an... Read

“Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s on its way!  What better way to Do A bit Better this year, than to prepare an eco-friendly Easter basket for your little ones?  Here’s how:

Start by skipping the fake grass.  It’s usually made out of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable plastics which we just toss out the week after Easter.  And then what?  It sits in the landfill.  Dried grass gives a naturalistic look – or you can make your own paper grass from colored paper with a paper shredder.  It’s bouncy enough to keep Easter-eggs from breaking, and can be recycled afterwards

Speaking of Easter-eggs, consider dying your eggs naturally this year.  Egg shells are surprisingly absorbent when it comes to color, and the dye doesn’t have to last long! Consider boiling the eggs in some of these to color your eggs “au natural” this year: Pomegranate Juice, Blueberries, Spinach Juice, and Yellow Curry.  Boil these things in some white vinegar and you’ll get vibrant, natural colors!

Localize your candy!  Support your local Chocolatier for better chocolate, local economic stability, and less manufacturing / transporting / packaging waste.

Consider a better basket. Pick a basket you’ll like, reuse and keep (for guest towels, décor, gardening) instead of buying a cheap one you’re just going to throw out.  It may not be pastel colors, but a few ribbons will make it all-the-more festive!”

Advertisment
Health & Beauty

Home-made beauty products

“Make your own beauty products?  Sounds hard, but it’s actually quite simple.  Aside from saving a little money, many commercially... Read

“Make your own beauty products?  Sounds hard, but it’s actually quite simple.  Aside from saving a little money, many commercially produced beauty products are packed with nasty chemicals that can do damage to your body.  As mentioned in our Caring About Personal Care article  (link to article), there are Parabens, Phthalates, Tricolosan, Oxybenzone and Formaldehyde in many of the beauty products we use every day. We are Doing A bit Better here by making a few of our own. We promise these DYI beauty products are as easy as going to your kitchen and pulling a few things together.

Homemade Perfume

An easy way to smell delicious in a snap is to grab a sauce pan, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix the two, heat them up and you’ll have a sweet homemade fragrance just like that.  Pour the rest in a glass jar for continued use.

Use Vegetable Oil to Condition Your Hair
Is there anything vegetable oil can’t do?  In addition to being used for cooking and fueling some cars, it can also work as an amazing conditioner for your hair.  Grab some all-natural oil (organic is the best), pour in your hand, rub at the scalp and then comb through to the ends.  Let sit a few minutes and rinse.  You’ll be left with soft conditioned hair!

Exfoliate with Strawberries
We can all use exfoliation once and a while – after all, it’s a great way to make your skin feel baby-fresh.  So instead of reaching for store bought exfoliant, why not just grab some strawberries?  Strawberries have natural fruit acid that helps in exfoliation of your skin. All you need is 8-10 berries, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt (sea, kosher, etc).  Mix all the ingredients together and then massage it on your hands, feet, face or any place that needs a gentle scrub.

Make Your Own All Natural Lip Gloss
Looking for a clean, fresh gloss to sooth those dry lips and make them shine too?  Make your own lip gloss by mixing 1 teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Stir until smooth, then use right away, storing the rest for later.

Homemade Deodorant
Homemade deodorant is easy as sprinkling a little baking soda onto a damp wash cloth, and applying it to your underarms. It’ll keep you fresh throughout the day!

 

These are just a few ways to look and feel good naturally and to know that you are Doing A bit Better!”

Advertisment
Solar

Peel-and-Stick Solar Cells – So Fun!

The Scientific Journal Reports that Stanford University scientists have developed a thin “peel-and-stick” solar cell that can be attached to... Read

The Scientific Journal Reports that Stanford University scientists have developed a thin “peel-and-stick” solar cell that can be attached to almost any surface.

The fabrication process included a wafer of silicon, silicon dioxide, sandwiched metal and a film of nickel on which the thin-film solar cells are placed, and then attaching a layer of thermal release tape.  After being dipped in water, the target surface was coated with adhesives and the thin-film solar cells were attached to the sticky surface and the thermal release tape was removed.

These thin solar cells can be placed on a wide range of surfaces, and could someday be used commercially to generate solar power.

Advertisment