Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Here's a great Smart Tip from smart2begreen.com.
If you're trying to avoid the flu
And keep your hands clean too
Choose a sanitizer that's safe to use
And is as easy on the earth as it is on you.
All Natural vs. Antibacterial
With flu season around the corner and school starting, it's important to pick up the proper all natural hand sanitizers to fend off germs. Avoid picking up antibacterial sprays that contain harsh chemicals and can often do more harm than good.
- Hand sanitizers that you'll typically find in stores can contain lots of scary chemicals like Triclosan & Benzalkonium Chloride, which overkill germs on the hand (whether good or bad) and actually cause bacteria to grow stronger.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Lather up, then rub your hands together for about 20 seconds. That's about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. If you are not near a sink, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Sanitize your hands the safer way by choosing natural hand purifiers. Pick products made from all natural or certified organic ingredients to keep your family safe during the upcoming cold season.
Check It Out
Clean George is creating natural hand purifiers for your hands that are good for humans and good for the planet.
Clean Well helps keep your family and environment healthy by creating a line of natural soap products.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Green tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions on the entire amount you owe the government. The following items can help you save on your 2009 taxes:
Hybrids and Alternative Power Automobiles - If you've bought a new fuel-efficient vehicle in the past year, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500, depending on the type of car. If your clunker's running out of juice, think green and check out your fuel-efficient options.
Energy Star Heating & Cooling Systems - Have you upgraded your air conditioning or water heater this year? A tax credit of 30% of the purchase price may be coming your way. If your energy bill is ridiculously high due to an old heating or cooling system, consider a more energy-efficient choice.
Solar Systems (for power, that is, not planets!) - If you've installed solar panels to increase the energy efficiency of your home, or if you now have a solar heating system, you may be eligible for yet another tax credit of 30%.
The government will consider tax credits for these systems through the year 2016, so you have plenty of time to green your home and reap the financial rewards!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Even though we're all on a budget these days, there are still special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays that we want to celebrate, that we need to celebrate.
When my friend's birthday was approaching, her boyfriend took a deep breath to brace himself for a potentially pricey weekend celebration.
Fortunately, he's a resourceful guy so he did an internet search for deals in the area. The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California offered to make it a whole lot easier for him with their "Double the Fun" promotion.
The special includes one night free with one paid night, as well as complimentary hotel charges for the second person in the room, applicable to food and beverage charges and to spa services! In other words, he could...
Buy one dinner, get the second free. Buy one breakfast in bed, get the second one free.
Buy one Swedish massage, get the second one free. Buy one Sunday brunch, get the second one free.
I know, awesome, right? This added up to a wonderful, extravagant birthday for my friend...and a deep sigh of relief for her sweetie.
We all need to celebrate sometimes and there are many deals to be found. Just look around. Do a little research.
It's amazing what bargains are out there right now. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
With cold and flu season rearing it's ugly head, combined with super-viruses and repressed immune systems from antibiotic overuse, our first line of defense is three-fold: keep immune systems strong, wash hands often and rinse the sinuses with a neti pot.
None of us can afford the time or financial drain of getting sick. So I say, fear not the neti pot!
If you're like me, the first time you hear about the neti pot, "Eeww" is the only thing that comes to mind. It took urgent need to heal a sinus infection before a plane flight to convince me to try it. And by gum, it worked!
Now I'm a neti pot cheerleader.
Just what is a neti pot? It's a ceramic vessel that looks like a gravy boat morphed with Aladdin's lamp. Developed over centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, it's used to rinse the nasal passages.
Using the neti pot can help ward off and cure symptoms of allergies, colds, flu and dry weather irritations. Many people also experience an improved sense of smell and taste, sharpened vision, reduced dark circles under the eyes and even reduced snoring.
In order to have a pleasant neti experience, use distilled or spring water; tap water can be harsh unless the chlorine and chemicals are filtered. I recommend buying a saline solution specifically made for neti pot use; avoid salt with iodine. Also, check the temperature...not too hot, not too cold. If you follow the instructions, and use these helpful hints, you'll find the process to be far easier than it looks.
With all the conversation about the high cost of health insurance, I believe we have to do all we can to raise our personal levels of wellness and lower the risks of infecting others. The neti pot can really help.
Here's neti pot info from www.webmd.com/
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
To be honest, I haven't stepped foot in a JC Penney since my mom bought me some stylish baby blue corduroys to kick-start junior high. So when my friend told me about Cindy Crawford's new home collection at Jacque Penn-ay, I had my doubts.
Friday, September 18, 2009
GoGratitude.com is organizing a World Gratitude Gathering that starts today.
Whether you're interested in participating for one day or for the entire 42 days, their 9 Agreements are worthy of us all.
- I agree that a world of Love and Gratitude begins with me. I choose to model the change I wish to see in the world.
- I agree to consciously set an intention for manifesting something miraculous in my life throughout this process.
- I agree to tap into Gratitude on a daily basis and as much as possible in every waking moment. I know that the rewards of doing so flow through and extend beyond me.
- I agree to be a consistently uplifting inspiration in all my interactions. I commit to see and mirror back the greatness of each soul who crosses my path. I choose to discover and nurture the light within so that it may shine forth to others and magnify their life.
- I agree to honor each individual's right to choose their own belief system and life path.
- I agree to be open to both give and receive. In all my dealings, I seek win-win, mutually edifying interactions and transactions.
- I agree to be true to my word in my exchanges with others. I realize that my personal influence is magnified to the degree I am able to keep my word with myself and others. If something comes up and I decide to change what I had agreed upon, then I agree to make that communication as soon as possible to the affected party.
- I agree to love and enjoy my life as much as possible!
- And, last but certainly not least, I agree to be Grateful for ME!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
As you know from previous posts, I'm always on the "lookout" for excess VOC's (volatile organic compounds) and, perhaps more importantly, ways to reduce and eliminate them.
The lasted hot topic? The dangers of VOC's in shower curtains. This is what Dr. Andrew Weil has to say on the subject.
Many shower curtains and shower curtain liners are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which contains a number of toxic chemicals.
If your shower curtain emits the characteristic "new shower curtain smell," you can be pretty sure that it was made with PVC. The chemicals released as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), may cause respiratory irritation; damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys; nausea, headaches, and lack of coordination. The most common symptoms that occur with exposure to VOCs include eye irritation, nose and throat discomfort, breathing problems, allergic skin reactions, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and nosebleeds.
In June 2008, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, a nonprofit environmental organization reported on a study that found that new shower curtains released 108 VOCs into the air over 28 days, and that after a week 40 VOCs were detected in the air. The number dropped to 16 after two weeks, 11 after three weeks and four after four weeks.
The study also found that over seven days, one new PVC shower curtain will release VOCs that exceed the guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council. And it noted that the testing didn't replicate temperature and humidity typically found in bathrooms during showers, which would likely increase the concentrations of VOCs released into the air.
The solution is to avoid shower curtains and liners made with PVCs. Instead, look for PVC-free shower curtains, which are widely available.
A number of major retailers plan to offer more PVC-free shower curtains and two, Ikea and Marks & Spencer, are switching over to PVC-free products. You can find a list of those available at major national retailers at http://www.chej.org/showercurtainreport and clicking the link called "PVC and PVC-free shower curtains sold at major retailers." On this page you'll also find the full report, called "Volatile Vinyl," that outlines the scope of the problem and what can be done to solve it.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
For years, all of my feng shui clients have been hearing my little speech about the importance of plants. Best placed in the Family Area, the Wood Energy of plants symbolizes growth, health and vitality. Plants also produce oxygen, eat CO2's and act as an air filter in your home. What's not to love?
From a feng shui perspective, it's important to select plants with rounded rather than pointy leaves. Pointy leaves can lead to arguments, accusations and bickering. Who needs that?
But don't just take my word for it. NASA did a study to find which plants provide the best filtering of VOC's, or volatile organic compounds, in our homes.
Here's their list of the best plants for absorbing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and other toxins in your home. Yep, they're all around, courtesy of your non-eco carpets, fabrics, flooring paint etc.
These plants below will help...
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa')
Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Gerbera Daisy or Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Pot Mum or Florist's Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Monday, September 14, 2009
I'm a strong believer in eliminating as many EMF's (electromagnetic fields) as possible from your immediate surroundings. You can hear me discuss it in the video above from my webseries.
Yes, reducing & eliminating EMF's will help you to boost your energy and improve your well-being.
Well, now there's an iPhone app that detects EMF's!
Check it out...
Explore the magnetic and electromagnetic fields all around you with EMF Detector!
The new iPhone 3GS can detect how strong the magnetic fields are with respect to the x, y, and z axes. Now you have access to this information in a interesting and responsive way.
Run the EMF Detector around your walls to discover any leaking electromagnetic fields (EMF) coming from faulty wiring (or paranormal activity!).
Use it as a metal detector -- you'll notice that the needle will rise a bit when you place the device near ferromagnetic metals (such as steel and iron).
Or, simply show off how cool your new iPhone 3GS is by watching the sin wave of EMF activity generated by a nearby motor is plotted before your eyes.
Simply load the EMF Detector on your 3GS iPhone, and you will immediately see the magnetic forces detected by the phone plot in real time, allowing you to easily identify fluctuations in magnetic (MF) and electromagnetic (EMF) fields.
The computed magnitude of the detected field is also indicated by the needle display to aid you in hunting out those magnetic hot zones.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I just love watching videos from the TED conference. Here's one that surprised me...
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father's wisdom.
Sagacious wisdom, indeed.
He has a very cool website! Check it out http://www.coachwooden.com/
Here's another link to the Coach John Wooden video on TED
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Looking for something fun to do this weekend, but you don't want to dip into the piggy bank? Check this out.
The Simple Dollar has a list of
Here are the first ten...
1. Check out the community calendar. Look at your town’s website (as well as those of cities and towns nearby) or stop by city hall to find a list of events going on in the community, many of which are free. You’ll often be surprised at how many interesting (and free) activities are going on right now in your area.
2. Visit your community library. Not only is a library a warehouse of books, most libraries also have extensive CD and DVD collections you can check out. Many libraries also have “story time” for young children, film nights, book clubs, and many other events that you may be unaware of – completely for free. Stop in and check out what they have to offer.
3. Get involved in community sports. Many towns have community sports fields where both youth and adult sports leagues and activities are regularly going on throughout the weekend. Stop by, watch a game or two, and if something intrigues you, look into joining either as a participant or as a volunteer.
4. Get your financial papers in order. This may not sound like a fun activity up front, but the peace of mind it gives you will make your life a lot more relaxing. Spend an hour or two organizing all of your statements and other financial documents. This is a perfect time to start your own filing system. If you’re more adventurous, try initiating an electronic filing system, as it will save you significant space and make information retrieval easier (though it’s more of a time investment up front).
5. Check out some podcasts. Podcasts are wonderful things – top-notch audio programs available for you to listen to for free. Give some a sample – you can do it easily by using iTunes. Visit the Podcast section of the store and check a few out.
6. Play board games. Just dig through the recesses of your closet, find an old board game you haven’t played in ages, and bust it open! Then invite friends over for game night.
7. Bake a loaf of homemade bread. You probably have everything you need to make a loaf of bread in your kitchen right now (except for maybe the yeast). Anyone can do it, and the bread turns out deliciously. Here’s a detailed visual guide for making a simple loaf with minimal ingredients and complexity.
8. Learn how to juggle. All you really need is three balls and a video showing you how to do it. Not only is it a fun activity to learn, it’s something that’s fun to bust out as a party trick on occasion (trust me, you can always get people to smile if you juggle three fruits in the kitchen while preparing something).
9. Teach yourself how to change the oil in your car. If you’re due for an oil change, just bring the oil you need home with you and teach yourself how to do it. All you really need is an old pan to catch the wasted oil and a funnel to pour the old oil back into the canisters for later disposal. Just use your car manual as a guide for the procedure and you might just find that not only is it a lot easier than you thought.
10. Meet your neighbors. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your neighbors if you don’t know them well. Invite any interesting ones over for a cup of coffee and a chat, just to get to know each other better. Your neighbors can not only become friends, but can also be a valuable resource – a friendly pair of eyes on your property when you’re away or a helpful set of hands when you’re trying to complete a challenging task.
Didn't see one you liked? Click the link below for 90 more ideas.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Eight years ago this morning, I awoke to a beautiful, sunny day in my Manhattan apartment at 33 Gold Street in the shadow of the World Trade Center. While getting ready for a busy day at the design project I was working on in Tribeca, a sonic boom-type noise shook my building.
Moments later, I heard a fire truck blaring outside my window down Gold Street, a narrow alley-like street that started as a horse & buggy trail. By the sound of the siren and horn, it was clear that someone was blocking the fire truck's path. When I heard the fireman on the PA system scream at the top of his lungs, "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!!!" I knew something was seriously wrong. Cursing on a PA was simply not done by New York's Bravest.
As I ran to turn on NY1, the local tv station, the phone rang. Then the cell rang. Within a minute's time, I was switching back and forth between call waiting callers, basically talking to four people at the same time.
The next few hours were witnessed by all of us as we all shared the same horror.
What my neighbors and I shared, in addition, were months of displacement after being evacuated from our homes, the deep sadness of seeing our neighborhood covered in toxic dust, the acrid odor accompanied by a host of respiratory maladies, and the surreal experience of showing ID to armed guards at military check points just so we could go home for a change of clothing. I didn't know anyone who died that day, nonetheless, the pain, suffering and grief lingered far longer than the dust.
I've been searching to a positive way to honor the 8th anniversary of 9/11. But some things in life require reflection and solace more than anything else. For me, today is one of them.
But I would like to say this...
I am so grateful to have such lovely friends as Gary & Melissa Margolin, who took me into their home for what we all thought would be one night, which turned into nearly three months. Melissa knew me briefly, but opened her heart and home fully. And Gary had the largesse to do the same.
I am so grateful to live in a land that can come together and help each other when needed. I can't speak for the Katrina situation, but my experience with the disaster assistance including FEMA, The Red Cross, Salvation Army and New Horizons, was outstanding. Not only was I evacuated from my home, my job site was behind barricades (with an armed tank on the corner!). All work on my design project was stopped for a couple of months. While I balked at the idea at first, disaster assistance turned out to be a Godsend.
First responder friends reported that the disaster relief area for families of those lost, city officials (City Hall was evacuated) and first responders was up and running within a few hours. There were ample computer stations, free long distance phone lines, medical and mental health providers, food catering services, rest areas, even pet therapy for folks who couldn't yet communicate from the shock...but who needed unconditional love from a dog. It was America at it's best. I'll never forget the pride of seeing all the American flags the following day. Simply awesome.
I am also grateful for this...whenever I hear someone say, after breaking a heel, getting caught in the rain, not getting something they wanted, "This is the worst day ever!" I think to myself, "Oh, if this is your worst day, then count yourself blessed." I witnessed the Worst Day first hand. And I'm grateful for the perspective it has given me.
There are block parties being held across our nation today to honor the past by working together towards a greener, cleaner and better future.
For more information, go to http://service.greentheblock.net/