Category Archives: Pretty Green Tip of the Day

Rags to Riches

What to do with those old, worn-out gym clothes? You don’t want to toss them, but they’ve reached the point where they definitely aren’t cute enough to wear to your favorite kickboxing or AntiGravity Yoga (yes, that’s a real class offered at my gym!) class? And you certainly can’t donate them to Goodwill – let’s be honest, no one wants your pit-stained tees.

I recently found myself with a stack of politically incorrect tank tops that had seen way, way better days. Instead of tossing them in the garbage where they’d be sure to make their way to Landfill Access Road*, I decided to throw them under the sink and use ’em to clean my always slightly dingy kitchen floor. Seriously, who puts white tile in a kitchen? This might not be breaking news to those of you whose moms did the same with their dad’s old t-shirts, but I was pretty excited when this repurposing idea crossed my mind. Just wash your clothes-turned-rags first (obviously!), add a little soapy water, put on your cleanin’ clothes and your favorite Pandora station, and start scrubbin’ away. Sometimes I even go barefoot, throw a shirt under each foot and slip-slide my way to clean. I’m loving this method – my floor ends up way cleaner than when I use a mop. Besides, is it just me, or are mops totally bs? I feel like I’m just pushing wet dirty puddles around. I think I might be missing the cleaning gene.

*My sister and I, who drive by this freeway exit often, have a long-standing joke that this would be the worst street address ever.

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How To Throw a Pretty Green Baby Shower, Part 1: Invitations

My best friend is having a baby girl, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Mom-to-be Kate is very eco-conscious, and plans to use cloth diapers and reduce her carbon baby footprint as much as possible. Eco, baby!

I’m very excited to be hosting her baby shower, and naturally I want to do things as green as possible. First up: invitations. Now, the most eco-friendly option would be to go paperless, but having grown up with a MIss Manners-loving mom, I couldn’t dream of sending a shower Evite. Luckily, there are a number of sites out there catering to us green etiquette junkies, using post-consumer recycled paper and even wind-power generation. Check out some of the adorable options I found in my search, below. Most of them even come in a “blue” version for little eco baby boys. I won’t tell you which I picked until Kate receives hers in the mail, but it’s safe to say I had a hard time deciding with all these cute choices!

Key terms to search for when seeking eco-friendly invites: recycled; post consumer recycled, green; plantable

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From Tiny Prints,
made from 50% recycled paper content/30% post-consumer recycled

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babyshower3From Paper Culture, 100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper, wind-power generated, very green company overall

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Paper Culture

babyshower6Tiny Prints

What’s your favorite? Have you ever attended an eco-friendly party or shower?

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Put a Cork in It

It being your compost bin.

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I moved a few weeks ago, and as I was cleaning out my drawers, I found a ton of corks. Not sure what I was saving them for, but after a little research, I realized they are totally compostable! Since cork is made of tree bark, it’s perfectly ok to throw it in your green bin (if you have one – man, I love San Francisco!) or compost pile. Pretty cool, right?

While you’re at it, check out this list 11 Unusual Things You Can Compost. While recycling is much better than throwing things in the garbage, most of what we recycle gets sent overseas. Composting your paper towels, egg cartons and cotton swabs is a great solution. If you don’t want to start your own compost pile (totally understandable!), check with your city to see if they have a municipal composting program, or contact your local officials and say you want one!

I heart wine.
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Do you compost? Would you like to if you could? Do you have any questions about composting for my sister, a gardening/composting expert?

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Pretty Green Tip: Plastic Bag Rehab

No, I’m not talking about these super cute bags (though, yes, super cute). I’m talking about what to do when somehow, against your wishes, a plastic bag makes its way into your life.

Occasionally my CSA will give me produce in the dreaded plastic bags (though I hear they are switching to biodegradable ones!), and though I try to never, ever use them myself at the grocery store, I make one exception: spicy foods. When I’m buying something capsaicin-ful (heh), like the jalapenos I picked up for a mango-cucumber salsa last week, I will admit to dropping it in a plastic bag instead of my usual mesh and canvas ones. But instead of grabbing a new bag at the store, I bring a used one from home – and you can, too!

Here’s what I do: turn the bag inside out and scrub it with a sponge and some eco-friendly dish soap. Rinse, and set it to dry on a little plastic bag drying station made of a yogurt tub or big bowl, and a set of tongs. Simple as can be! Most bags can get at least a few uses out of them, provided there’s no mold or anything like that. Keep bags out of the landfils – reduce and reuse!

Side note: Does it drive anyone else crazy when you see someone bagging bananas or a single apple? They’ll be fine on the conveyor belt, people, I promise!

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Do you reuse plastic bags? What have you creatively repurposed?

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Bright & Thrifty

Despite the fact that this Maggy London dress I bought to wear to my friend’s wedding last weekend cost only $30 at Crossroads, had a bad stitch that caused it to bunch all funny and not hang right, the fact that the zipper broke between the ceremony and reception, and several other corset-related mishaps that I don’t really need to go into on this blog, I have never gotten so many compliments on a dress, ever. People actually stopped me on the street to compliment me. So, if you’re looking for a fun dress to wear to an upcoming event, I say keep it simple and cheap with a fun, brightly-colored, previously-been-owned (that sounds a lot cuter than used, no?) dress. I guarantee you’ll get lots of compliments on your bold frock! By the way, the bride’s cousin introduced me to my new favorite phrase at the wedding – we’re frocked up! Love it.

If you don’t have a great thrift shop near you, eBay is the place to shop! True, it’s not quite like trying something on in the store, but if you generally know what size you wear, shopping online is a great way to find gorgeous, cheap pre-owned clothes. Plus, you might save so much that a little tailoring wouldn’t be out of the question if your item isn’t quite a perfect fit when it shows up. Or you could just hope that no one notices a few imperfections – hey, it worked for me!

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When searching on eBay for fun party dresses, I enter terms like “BGBG dress,” “Anthropologie dress,” or “Maggy London dress” and then refine my search with the sizes I’m looking for. You can also enter just the brand name, like “FCUK” or “Tracy Reese” and then click on women’s clothing, then dresses. Next, I specify (on the menus on the left-hand side of the screen) that I’m looking for something “pre-owned” or “used.” “New” and “new w/o tags” may also bring up what you’re looking for, but there are a lot of resellers on eBay, which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of buying used. I always check seller’s other items to see if they are clearly a reseller before deciding on a purchase. You can refine your search by color, if you’re looking for something specific, like a fun bright yellow dress or a pretty blue one, like I’m seeking for my roommate’s upcoming wedding, length and more. I prefer to search by brand name as opposed to just “blue dresses,” because I find a lot of strange things come up with more general searches, like “club wear” and floral denim dresses. Not quite the look I’m going for!

yellow dress
I bet this cost a lot more than $30 at Nordstrom!

Happy shopping!

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Whole Savings

I love shopping at Whole Foods, but they don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing. While I totally believe that you get what you pay for, and think it’s worth paying more for SOLE foods (sustainable, oganic, local, ethical – just heard that term and I love it!), shopping for these kinds of groceries can definitely add up!

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Enter the Whole Deal, the Whole Foods newsletter, filled with discounts on some of the great products that Whole Foods carries. I just picked up the June/July issue which has tons of great coupons, including $1 off Barbara’s Bakery Puffins, 50 cents off Zbars, 50 cents off MOJO bars, 50 cents of Luna Cookies, $1 off Rice Dream/Soy Dream, $1 off Kashi GoLean Crunch, $1 off any Green & Blacks product, $1 off Kashi TLC crackers (a KERF favorite!), and more! Sure, many of these products are packaged, but they’re mostly healthy and organic, and you might as well save a few bucks if you’re going to buy them anyway!

I’ll ignore the coupon for $1 off Fiji Water. You don’t need bottled water from Fiji, people! I don’t care how cute the bottle is. Siggs are cuter. 😉

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the Whole Deal is also filled with recipes, meal plans, tips for discounts in the store and more. I definitely recommend you pick one up next time you’re at Whole Foods, so you don’t spend your whole paycheck! Just make sure you recycle it or reuse the paper when you’re done!

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Pretty Green Tip: Ice Ice (Wine) Baby

I love wine. Like, a lot. Sometimes nothing’s better than coming home from work and pouring a big glass to have with (or before!) dinner. Or, ok, having a beer in the shower after a great workout – the most random thing I ever learned from having an alcoholic roommate (NOT my current roommate, by the way. Also, I only do the beer thing about once a year, probably, lest you think I am talking about an alcoholic “friend”). Boy, do I have some stories about that roommate. Someone remind me to tell the tale of Thanksgiving Apple Pie one of these days. 🙂

Anyway. Since I’m usually just cooking for me, and my roommate (again, not the alcoholic one!) and I aren’t always on the same schedule, I sometime don’t want to open a bottle if I won’t use it all up that week. Yes, I definitely could have a glass every night, but I probably shouldn’t. Also, I often cook with recipes that call for just a little bit of wine, which can be a pain, since, again I’m usually cooking for one. I hate opening a bottle and letting any of it go to waste!

The solution? Wine ice cubes! The other night I REALLY wanted a glass of Syrah, but knew I had plans the rest of the week and probably wouldn’t get to finish the bottle. So I made myself a HUGE glass of ice water to clear out my ice cube tray (can’t waste water, of course!) and filled it up with the rest of the bottle of wine. The next morning – voilà! Wine ice cubes!


By the way, I do not buy plastic baggies! A relative had sent me home with leftovers in one, so I washed and reused.

Mmm, wine ice cubes. I’m thinking about breaking one out for a Mandatory Popsicle Break one of these days! That’s totally acceptable, right?

My winecubes are now in the freezer ready to be used any time I have a recipe that calls for a little vino. Last night I made chicken with a red wine & shallot pan sauce – threw in a cube and it worked perfectly! Now I just have to make some white ones. C’mon, weather get warmer, so I can have a nice crisp glass of Chardonnay!

My friend Andrea points out that there are other great uses for your winecubes – like chilling a delicious Sangria or your lukewarm Pinot Grigio without watering it down! Is anyone else seriously craving some Sangria right now? Just me then?

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