29 September 2009


As we slog through our daily efforts to be cleaner, greener, and kinder to the planet, it is sometimes helpful to remind ourselves just what it is we're trying to preserve. Here are a few of my favorite mindful links:

National Geographic is the go-to place for educating oneself on the world around them and taking pause of its breathtaking wonders. This photo series on the ecosystems of the California Redwoods premiered last month and has quickly become one of my very favorites.

Kikim Media
is a documentary company that strives to tell the stories of our planet with honesty and intelligence. Winner of three Emmys and the DuPont Award for Investigative Journalism, Kikim's projects include a documentary mapping the links between nature's weather pattens and the human body and a film based on Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire.

You already know that Google maps fight crime, but did you know they also use their top-notch mapping technology to track the effects of global warming? Once you download the Google earth application you can observe existing changes in our atmosphere or see what changes have been predicted if current trends continue.

What inspires you to live a greener lifestyle?

24 September 2009

product placement: be a better baker

It's officially fall and for me, that means baking season is on. In the interest of getting your goodies as green as they can get, here are a few eco-friendly suggestions that will serve you well in the kitchen time and time again.

  • Cupcake lovers get an easy break on the paper issue: for the vast majority, cupcake liners are recyclable and biodegradable. However, if you're looking to really raise the enviro-bar in your kitchen, you have some good options: Beyond Gourmet makes paper liners that are totally free of bleach and chlorine, while Wilton offers its EasyFlex silicone baking cups in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes.

  • Though recycled paper towels are a great option for cleaning up messes, you can go one step farther with actual cloth towels. My favorite are Skoy cloths, which are colorful, machine-washable, quick-to-dry (to prevent mold/germs), and, once totally spent, 100% biodegradable.

  • If your old wooden mixing spoons are showing the splintered signs of wear and tear, opt for bamboo when you replace them! Sustainable, biodegradable, and incredibly quick growing, I cannot say enough good stuff about this favored panda food.

  • You'll save more than parchment paper with a silicone baking mat - this one from Silpat doesn't even need scrubbing, so you'll cut down on your soap and water consumption as well! Just give it a wipe and you're good to go.
Happy baking!
*Images via thekitchn.com

22 September 2009

be a local yokel!

Myrtle Avenue is stepping up its game these days with a slick new marketing campaign entitled "Home Grown and Locally Owned". With 95% of the area's businesses being locally owned, the campaign highlights the services these operations provide to the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods through the use of personal thoughts, snappy photos, and informative business references. Cheesy? Maybe. But locally owned businesses are an integral part of any vibrant community, keeping your neighbors employed, your schools in operation, and your Main Streets vibrant and fruitful.

In addition to their PR campaigning, the folks on Myrtle Avenue are doing quite a job of pumping up their 'hood: the Myrtle Ave Revitalization Project just announced that they will be starting a youth-run farmers market catering to the residents of the Farragut Houses near the Navy Yard. Starting in October this market will be open on Wednesdays from 3:30pm to 7pm. The Truck Farm is a regular cruiser down Myrtle Ave, combining green-roof technology, heirloom seeds, and organic composting to bring urban residents fresh produce from a living mobile garden. (You can check the Truck Farm out from 2pm-4pm on Myrtle between Hall and Ryerson this coming Sunday, Sept. 27th) Finally, the Fort Greene CSA is celebrating the advent of fall with FREE cooking, canning, and pickling demos right here in Fort Greene Park! Using seasonal produce and basic methods, local chefs and volunteers will teach you how to make the most out of your fall harvest and keep it useful through out the coming winter months.

For more info on these events and others, visit the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership at http://www.myrtleavenue.org/.

21 September 2009

not so new new york: the mannahatta project

New York City is no place for the weak: filled with strange and wild things, being in the Big Apple means being alert, aware, and able to adapt to our constantly changing surroundings. But was it always like this? Was NYC always a land of noise and danger, or, before the pavement was laid and a Duane Reade dotted every corner, was this once a kinder, gentler place? A place of calm and quiet? A place without Papaya Dog or Fifth Avenue? A place...of nature?

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York's always been a bit of a dangerous place - but not as we think of it today. Rather than rogue taxis and shady peddlers, wild bobcats and swooping hawks preyed on the meek as part of an urban jungle we'll never know: America's busiest hub of diversity was once a center of biodiversity equal to that of Yellowstone or the Great Smoky Mountains. In an epic endeavor helmed by ardent conservationist and landscape ecologist Dr. Eric Sanderson, The Mannahatta Project sought to unveil just how much the human touch had altered the original landscape of NYC's most famed borough. Using historic maps, landscape ecology, and a geographic information system, Dr. Sanderson and his (extensive) team gradually rolled the clock back 400 years to 1609, the year Henry Hudson navigated his way into New York Bay to reveal an island inhabited by beavers, salamanders, oak trees, and the Lenape people.

According to Dr. Sanderson, the Mannahatta Project allows people to

"discover ways in which we can restore some of the ecological processes lost to NYC in particular, and...how to create cities that are more 'livable' for people...Making cities more pleasant and rich places for people to live will increase city folks’ standard of living, attracting more people to cities and minimizing sprawl development between cities where the ecological gems, the “Mannahattas” of today, currently reside."
Visit www.themannahattaproject.org to see the Manhattan that is and was and to find out more ways to get involved in ecological restoration and the 400th anniversary of New York City.

20 September 2009

girlie girl army <3

Oh hey! Did you see? The ever-resplendent Girlie Girl Army has blogged my goodies once more! Check out my recipe for my spicy coconut black bean soup and all the glamazon goodness by visiting girliegirlarmy.com.

14 September 2009

beauty, redux

I am a firm believer in total body care - that means minding what goes in my body as well as what goes on it. I'm a sucker for eco-friendly beauty products like Sula nailpolish and Urban Decay's (vegan!!) eyeliners but, for me, Origins totally takes the organic beauty cake. Not only is the company committed to using 100% natural, organic ingredients formulated without toxic phthalates or parabens, Origins also boasts a comprehensive recycling program: bring in your emptied cosmetic containers to any Origins locations and the company will have them recycled or used for energy recovery. The best part? Origins is so committed, they will recycle every tube, bottle, pot, and jar, regardless of the brand. Awesome? Awesome.

Click here to learn more and find the Origins location nearest to you.

*image via origins cosmetics

12 September 2009

happy saturday!

Here are few links to some things I have been loving as of late:

Hope you're all enjoying this beautiful weekend!

08 September 2009

good old golden rule time

Labor Day has come and gone, and while you can keep on wearing your whites (some fashion rules are simply outdated), you and your young ones will have to wear them on your walk to school. Here are a few tips to make this academic year a cleaner, greener one!

Getting There: If you live outside your district's busing zone and public transit is simply not an option, try carpooling. Not only will you save on gas costs and reduce emissions, you'll connect with fellow parents (or students) who might otherwise go missed in the haywire of day-to-day life. Carpooling is probably easier than you think: many school have programs already established - just call the administrative offices and ask! Alternately, you can start your own group, meeting up with like minded drivers and managing your schedules with programs like Drive the Ride's calendar.

What to Bring: Like so many bright and flimsy things marketed towards kids, many school supplies are laden with toxic chemicals. PVC, used in everything from colorful binders to plastic lunchboxes, has been linked to autism, attention disorders, and reproductive issues. Many parents have had their fill of these toxic throw-away supplies, and have turned to such excellent shops as The Ultimate Green Store in their quest for back-to-school goods. You can also find an extremely helpful Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies here.

Lunchtime: By now you've surely heard the arguments against the nightmare which is the American schoolroom cafeteria. But even the best-packed superlunch is no good if it never gets eaten. Talk to your child about their lunch. Get them involved in its preparation the night before, if possible. Think from their perspective: will they be embarrassed to pull out a bowl of udon noodles at a table of their peers? If so, odds are slim that it will be eaten. Keep in mind, also, that many public schools get very little time for eating - a friend of mine who grew up in Chicago had only 15 minutes for her "lunch period". If you're facing a similar situation, consider nutrient-dense foods that can be served in small portions, such as hard boiled eggs, cheese, or whole-fat yogurt.

Home Sweet Home: Make the most out of your child's school day by talking to them. Ask to see their folders to check for fliers or important forms. Knowing what's happening at school allows you to engage in their academic progress, whether that's by starting a mini-herb garden for biology or taking a trip to the local art museum. If you're the student, make sure your home is a place that is conducive to study, but also a respite from the academic world. We all need a break once in a while!

03 September 2009

livin' la vida lebowski

Remember how summer could just never come soon enough? The long hours spent staring out of classroom windows; the buds blossoming on tree limbs, waiting to erupt into the bright green leaves to shade you from the hot July sun...ok. I may be getting a little melodramatic here, but you do remember how it feels to want something so bad that the waiting is absolute agony?

Well. That's pretty much how I feel before a night at Brooklyn Bowl.

Host to bands and home to a branch of the Blue Ribbon Restaurants, Brooklyn Bowl is home to 16 lanes featuring energy efficient pin spotters, floors made of Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) Chain of Custody controlled wood, and a stage floor made out of recycled truck tires.

Set in
a renovated Williamsburg iron foundry, Brooklyn Bowl is New York's first LEED-certified alley and is completely powered by wind (wind!). Incredible edibles are offered by Blue Ribbon Restaurant who, along with typical alley-fare such as wings and jalapeno poppers, serve organic mixed green salads, mac n' cheese with artichokes and black olives, and - oh baby - a slow roast BBQ beef brisket sandwich with sweet and spicy gravy. All their beverages are on tap and served in glasses, eliminating any can or bottle waste, and their 10 draught beers are locally brewed in Brooklyn. (BTW: Brooklyn Brewery's Intensified Coffee Stout made with Stumptown Coffee is on the menu. Bowl buzzed in more than one way!)

Bowling, bands, and bad-butt booze? Sounds like a perfect game to me!
Brooklyn Bowl is now open at 61 Wythe Ave. between North 11th and 12th Sts., Williamsburg. You can follow them on Twitter, or visit them on line at www.brooklynbowl.com.

Image via Brooklyn Bowl.

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