Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thriving on Less: Free e*book Green

Free Ebook: Thriving on Less – Simplifying in a Tough Economy

A great 27 page guide to simplifying your life. Best of all, it is FREE!

Table of Contents
Introduction

1. A Simple Lifestyle
2. Focus on the Essentials
3. Thriving on Less, Not Struggling
4. Focusing on Enough, Not More
5. Make Small Financial Changes First
6. Look at Large Expenses for the Long Term
7. Changing Your Spending Habits
8. A Guide to Getting Out of Debt
9. Tools for a Frugal Life
10. Resources

Fire starting green

Yesterday, I posted about outdoor firepits as I continue to daydream about warmer weather. I wanted to share a great tip how to make your own firestarters from recycled items around your home.

Items needed:

Wax (either in the form of candle stubs or crayons or parafin)
Paper egg cartons
Dryer Lint

No need to remove the crayon wrappers. I don't know about you, but we must have a small bin of old broken crayons. I am not sure why I saved them, but this is a great way to reuse them.

I think the best way to melt the wax is in an old can set in boiling water. I bend the top of the can to make the wax easier to pour.

Stuff the egg carton with the lint and then when the wax is melted, pour over the lint. After it hardens, the eggs can be torn apart and one wax and lint egg is enough to get a good fire roaring.

I've also seen sawdust used on these, but make sure it is untreated wood, if you choose to use sawdust so it will not release toxins when it burns.

This will work for indoor fires as well, such as a wood stove or fireplace.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"We Have a Winner" Green!

Last week, I sponsored a giveaway for American made, eco friendly toothbrush subscriptions from Preserve. Thank you to my three entrants, and since I don't want to have to choose, you're all winners! I am thrilled to introduce you to this product.

Faren , Babs, and my incomparable blog sister, I have selected you as winners of the toothbrush subscription. Just send your shipping info to kim  @ writeonenterprises.com (no spaces).

As a disclaimer, though I advertise on my page and attempt to generate income from my affiliates, I want to be clear that this is pure love of a company that is doing something good for the world motivating my giveaway. I receive no compensation or discounts for this promotion. To be perfectly honest, the net results of my advertising program to date are $.11 (eleven cents), based on my own purchasing.Clearly, I'm in this for principals, not money.

But since you mentioned it, I do want to plug one of my affiliates, because they really do have a solid idea, along with a $2.00 coupon code, GLYDE2, off any purchase! This is a great used book, CD, and video site.

Save up to 90% on glyde.com!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Body Care Green



Last weekend, I had the thrill of meeting a local businesswoman at an art show. I've embraced organic and holistic living for most of my adult life, especially since becoming a parent. Our skin is the biggest organ on our body and whatever we put on it is absorbed into our entire body.

Over the course of a lifetime, reducing exposure to dangerous chemicals and additives is paramount. Heidi Goldberg, proprietor of Bodygoodies, is a natural skin care expert and licensed esthetician. She makes several handmade soaps in her local shop.

Bodygoodies soaps look good enough to eat, but they do a much better job cleaning the body. Heidi only uses natural ingredients that are safe for the body and natural oils that will not cause allergic reactions. The science of soap is her area of expertise. Each bar she sells has a complete explanation of the ingredients used and how they help the body. An information junkie like myself is in pure heaven. I couldn't possibly cover each item and how it is good for your skin, but her website is so detailed, you'll be able to choose a custom soap for your skin type. She provides a plethora of information and expertise.
She also sells small "pucks" of moisturizer that are made with the same care and respect for the body as the soaps. Bodygoodies packaging is minimal, a recycled paper card and a custom rubber band. The rubber bands are part of a frequent buyer promotion, save 10 rubber bands for a free bar of soap. One bar and you will be hooked.
I've written about the nationally recognized movement to encourage consumers to spend their money at local small businesses. The program, the 3/50 project, suggests instead of shopping a big box store, in the course of a month, choose three different local businesses and spend $50 there.

This is the pinnacle of responsible consumerism. Supporting a local business instead of a far flung corporation gives back to the community in many ways, besides just neighbors helping neighbors. I encourage you to learn what sort of businesses are in your own backyard and make a pledge to shop there next time you need to spend.

For those of you who wish that Bodygoodies was local for you, the great news is the online shop as well as availability at select Whole Foods.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dreaming of Sunshine Green

As much of the nation digs out from blizzards, snowstorms, and general winter woes, we find ourselves longing for sunny days, yard work, and cooking al fresco. There is nothing better on a warm evening than to inhale and know that someone in the neighborhood is grilling. Food always seems to taste better when cooked on a barbecue grill.

Americans will cook and consume three billion meals outdoors this year on 80 million grills. There certainly are health benefits to grilling food when compared to frying or smothering in fat laden sauces while grilled vegetables are sure to turn around even the most adamant veggie hater. Grilling is a healthy way to add flavor without calories to just about any food.

Many outdoor chefs swear by a charcoal grill but the environmental impact of lighter fluid and charcoal is staggering. Propane has about 1/3 the environmental carbon foot print as charcoal. Gas-burning stoves turn on and off quickly and users can efficiently control the amount of CO2 released into the air. Conversely, it is not as simple as turning a dial to start or stop a charcoal grill, keeping a continual flow of CO2, even when not cooking.

Electric or gas grills have the least environmental impact. Fire magic grills  are available in both electric or gas, depending on your preference. They are American made and come in a beautiful stainless steel finish.

Outdoor living is only a few months away. For true outdoor aficionados, a full kitchen is worth considering. Built in grills  create a memorable al fresco experience decorated by none other than Mother Nature. The birds will sing, the flowers will bloom and the grills will sizzle. I can almost taste the burger now. Before long this snow will melt and we will be enjoying our yards again.

This green moment brought to you courtesy of over 20 inches of snow and a severe case of cabin fever.

photo courtesy of: Amber Wallace Photography

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Made in America Giveaway Green

In honor of President's Day weekend, I am following in the steps of my fellow blog sisters by sponsoring a giveaway for Made In America goods. While we celebrate the people who made our nation great, we also need to celebrate the businesses that make our nation thrive.

A few weeks ago, WAKE UP TO FRUGALITY! gave away American made cookware, and last week, Consciously Frugal gave away kitchen towels. I was so moved by my blog friends that I completely pilfered their idea and this week I have decided to write some more about Preserve Products and their fabulous mission.

Preserve recycles those pesky #5 plastics that many curbside programs do not accept. #5s are also known as polypropylene and are a different polymer than the #1s and #2s that most recycling programs accept. Preserve accepts #5s and turns them into durable kitchen and personal products. (for more details, follow the links in the prior paragraph).

I was trying to decide what I wanted to give away from Preserve and somehow relate it to President's Day. Since among many things, George Washington is also known for his poor dental hygeine, I thought it would be fitting to give away a one year toothbrush subscription.  In case you were curious, Abe Lincoln also had some dental issues. Apparently, a dentist broke off part of Lincoln's jaw bone while pulling a tooth -- without anesthesia.

Times have changed since our forefathers, and there is no reason for us to have poor dental hygeine. To encourage that, every three months, Preserve will deliver a new toothbrush to your door. You can even print out a prepaid mailing label to return your old toothbrush for recycling.

In order to win, I am asking two things from my readers. I would like you to tell me what you use that is American made, and also how long you've been reading my blog. I've made a lot of changes to it this year and I am interested in some reader feedback. I will choose the winner on Friday, February 19th, so please reply before then. Thank you and good luck!

(photo note: from a family trip to Mount Rushmore in 2003, and yes, I really did make the family wear patriotic colors for the photo op)

Valentine's Day Green

As the world closes in on the pressure-filled, gift-giving, prove-you-love-me holiday otherwise known as Valentine's Day, the media inundates us with suggestions of flowers, candy, or jewelry.

The truth is, if you love the planet and your health, none of these choices are particularly loving gifts. Cut flowers grown in artificial conditions, shipped from seasonably warm climates far away leave quite a carbon footprint. Candy leaves a caloric footprint with none of the nutritional benefits. Metal mining is environmentally destructive, with 20 tons of ore required to produce enough gold for a single ring. Gold mines also release cyanide and mercury into nearby water sources, are associated with poor safety standards, inhumane labor practices, and disregard for the rights and interests of indigenous people.

What should an environmentally, green loving, socially responsible lover do to appropriately validate an expression of love? This writer has always been impressed by the opportunities to make memories, which leave no carbon footprint, do not add calories, and certainly do not exploit workers.

If you feel the compulsion to spend money as a demonstration of your undying love and devotion to your significant other, a memory of time spent together is a great place to start. There is a company I partnered with that feels the same way, Xperience Days,  a company that specializes in EXPERIENCES, not things. They provide the opportunity to do something together, in a variety of cities around the United States, sorted by zipcode.

They offer diverse opportunities, such as, glass blowing classes, horseback riding, dinner cruises, wine tastings, walking city tours, hot air balloon rides, spa days, golf gift certificates, and more. They have an incredible selection sorted by either location or type of activity.

Another aspect of this company I really appreciate is that it encourages the consumer to patronize their local economy, a movement strongly supported by the 3/50 project, an advocacy program for shoppers to shop at locally owned businesses. 

This year on Valentine's day, share the love you have for each other with the planet we call home. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Energy Star Green

In 1992, the EPA and the Department of Energy began a voluntary labeling practice for energy effecient goods, to encourage cost savings and efficiency.

Energy Star appliances are a way for a homeowner to cut their utility bills and sometimes even get a tax rebate. If your appliance was made prior to 1992, the energy cost savings to run your old appliance are likely to pay for a replacement appliance.

This podcast has an excellent interactive tool to find ways you could save energy in every room of your home. Simple tips like replacing your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent could save the nation as much as $8 billion/annually. Another consideration is a programmable thermostat, which can be set up to adjust yout temperature when you're sleeping or gone from your home.

Take the Energy Star Pledge and find out ways you can save some green and live more green. Like the logo says, Money isn't all you're saving!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cooking at Home Green

In the past, I've waxed poetic about the joys of cooking at home.  I enjoy cooking for several green reasons. It's less expensive than eating out (more green in the wallet) and it's healthier because I choose the food that will be served. I make sure we eat a healthy, portion appropriate meal. The pleasure derived from cooking is correlated to the tools at my disposal.

One of my new partners, Chefs catalogue, supplies the home cook with incredible cookware to make home cooking a genuine pleasure. I chose to partner with Chefs partially due a charity they are affiliated with, Operation Frontline, a groundbreaking cooking-based nutrition education program that teaches families how to prepare healthy, tasty meals on a limited budget. This is a proactive solution to the poor health partially caused by poor nutrition among many Americans.

Chefs also features many American made products, which I have highlighted. I strongly support buying domestically produced goods to stimulate our economy and also a lower environmental impact from less distance shipped.

The health of our bodies and our wallets depends on taking charge of what we consume and how we consume it. Cooking healthy food at home is a step in the right direction. 

*Chicago Metallic has been producing commercial metal bakeware in the United States since 1898.

*All-Clad Metalcrafters is the only cookware manufacturer to produce a full line of finished cookware products exclusively using American craftsmen and American-made metals.

*Chef's Choice sharpeners are assembled at the EdgeCraft facilities in Avondale, Pennsylvania, and sold in over fifty countries.
*KitchenAid products, which are synonymous with durability, are manufactured in Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas, Ontario, and Quebec, and its appliances are distributed throughout North America.

*Lodge Manufacturing Company nestled along the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains, producing the world's finest cast-iron cookware.

Teach your children to cook at home: Click here to view more details

Monday, February 8, 2010

No More Disposables Giveaway Green

My fellow green bloggers have started a beautiful trend to encourage reader participation. (I will be copying them next week with my own promotion).

It began with WAKE UP TO FRUGALITY, last week when J.N. gave away an American made stock pot. Our blogging sister, Aldra, at Consciously Frugal,  followed suit yesterday with a set of dishcloths and towels, also made in the United States.

I love what my writing friends are doing in our little corner of the internet and have pledged to follow suit next week with my own giveaway.

In order to qualify for Ms. Aldra's giveaway, you only need to respond on her blog with an American made product that you use. You have until Friday to reply: right here.

Good luck!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Coupon Green

This link is good for ten dollars in coupons. If you have children in school, you're probably saving the boxtops for a fundraiser, so this gives you some savings...

Sign Up for the Free Box Tops for Education email newsletter and get ten dollars in valuable savings.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Media Consumption Green

I've written in the past about what to do with old cassettes and records. There is a new company in town that I'm very excited to introduce to you. Glyde is a mail order DVD, CD, video and book exchange company.  The site has many online sales executives behind it with a winning formula for success. Glyde is brought to you by eCommerce veterans from eBay, AOL, and Excite. It's a chance to clear out your book and CD shelf and profit. They also have a charity program if you'd like to donate and receive a tax write off. What I really like about their company is that if you list something and it sells, they simply send you a prepaid envelope. You don't have to hassle with doing anything more than put the item in the envelope when it sells and drop it in the mailbox.

Forbes named Glyde one of the hottest 10 start up companies in 2009 and founder Simon Rothman told the New York Times ,
...his target market was people who had never sold items on the Internet because it was too difficult. “We want the middle-aged Midwestern soccer mom to easily be able to buy and sell her stuff,” he said. “It’s a pretty straightforward ambition.”
I'm truly impressed with what I consider a Greener than Green idea and I even set up my own account to sell some old books.
see my collection

Here is a coupon to get you started: $2 off your first purchase!, good until the 1st of March! Enter the code GLYDE2.

Save up to 90% on glyde.com!

As a disclaimer, they are one of my advertising affiliates. If you decide to use this company, I will receive a small referral percentage. If my recommendations are successful, by the end of 2010, I will have my readers vote on a charity to receive a percentage of my percentage.

Tell your friends!