Get Your Pickle Bucket

February 6th, 2015

Ever found yourself needing a place to stash dog poop?

Let me explain. I’m between houses. When you have a house, it’s easy to throw your dog poop in your outside trash receptacle. Cause you don’t want to bring that sh-t indoors. Continue reading »

Hug a Polar Bear, Take the Thermostat Challenge

February 9th, 2014

I know. I know! It’s a very yuck winter to be thinking about turning down the trusty thermostat, but will you do it in honor of International Polar Bear Day?

#PolarBearDay is February 27, and Polar Bears International is challenging you to take a not very icy plunge to lower carbon emissions.




All you have to do is lower your thermostat a couple degrees. If you live in a hot climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room temp is just a bit warmer, and if you live in a chilly climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room is a bit colder.




Are you observing International Polar Bear Day?

Merry Christmas with Alternative Holiday Trees

December 23rd, 2013

Merry Christmas to you, and happy end to 2013. It’s been a pretty good year.

Here’s a look at my Christmas trees this year. I bought a tree made from wood scraps. It was created by a local artist, so no, I don’t have the DIY for it, but if you’re imaginative enough, I bet you could figure this one out!




I love the colorful wooden ornaments! I see now that my old ceiling tile wasn’t such a great backdrop for the pic, but it will have to do.




And here’s a look at something I experimented with this year. I have a lot of ornaments that have been gifted to me over the years. I keep explaining that I don’t put up a big Christmas tree because it’s just too much hassle with my two cats. I have no idea how my dog would react, and I don’t want to find out.




But I have ornaments anyhow, so I thought it would be nice to display them in a nontraditional way this year. I remembered the trusty old pasta drying rack, which hasn’t seen much action lately. I angled the ornaments to come to a point, and really it was kind of a fun project! The picture isn’t so great though, so forgive the blurry. Ah, maybe Santa should bring me photography talent. Or I should use my digital camera instead of my iPhone…

Once again, Merry Christmas. And, please have a charming 2014.


Are reusable bags dangerous to grocery cashiers?

December 21st, 2013

I’ve heard a new one about reusable bags.

Placing my items and bags on the conveyor belt at one popular chain store I won’t name, I was greeted with “I’m not allowed to touch those. You’ll have to bag them yourself.”

Well, I’ve used my own bags at this store many times, so I was confused. The way that the check-out area was configured, it would have been awkward for me to bag my own groceries. So, I ask, “Is this a new policy?’

“No. I had a reaction and now I’m not allowed to touch the bags,” she said.


Image from when I forgot the garlic in my reusable shopping bag! Found it not so intact in the dryer.

Image from when I forgot the garlic in my reusable shopping bag! Found it not so intact in the dryer.


The cashier couldn’t say exactly what it was about the bags she had handled that made her sick, but there was fear in her eyes. If she had some sort of specific allergy, she wasn’t aware, but there was just something about the bags that had made her sick, she said.

I believe that. It could be that the cashier has some specific food allergy that she’ll soon discover isn’t related to reusable bags. However, I think it’s totally plausible that someone’s bags may have made her have a reaction.

Always Wash Your Bags

Reusable bags, like anything else you use again and again, should be washed to remove contaminants and allergens. Never buy bags for grocery shopping that are surface wash only. That’s not healthy. Think about it for a minute: You bags carry ready-to-eat foods like produce that can easily become contaminated by dirty grocery bags.

For your health, and your cashier’s, wash your reusable bags often. Visit the American Cleaning Institute for tips on how to safely store and clean reusable shopping bags.


How often do you wash your shopping bags?

Made in USA Christmas Toys for 2013

November 7th, 2013


Made in USA means your gift didn’t have to travel so far to get to you. Plus, it supports jobs in the United States. So, if you’re starting your holiday shopping, here are some ideas for Made in USA Christmas gifts for 2013.


Stuffed Dog, because if you can’t have the real thing, why not? Or, even if you can have the real thing, these pups are cute. Check out Cuddly Puppy Friend at Taraluna. These pups are made by hand in the United States, and they’re safe for small kids with no small parts to fall off.



Wooden Checkers, because cardboard just doesn’t last! These made in USA Wooden Checkers from Maple Landmark will last for years. And, if you’re looking for stocking stuffers that are made in USA, you can’t go wrong with the wooden dominoes, swords, train whistles, tops, puzzles, silly sticks and yo-yos at Maple Landmark!




Herd Your Horses is perfect entertainment for the horse lover in your family. The recommended minimum age for this made in USA board game is 8 years old. Herd Your Horses is available at Fat Brain Toys.




Tool sets aren’t just for boys! The Pink Tool Set from Green Toys is made in the USA from recycled plastic. Yeah, they also make a blue tool set. And they’re free of BPA and PVC.




And, of course, I leave you with the Vermont Teddy Bear!



Are you shopping for toys and other gifts that are made in the USA?

Mark Your Calendar for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 5th, 2013


Unwanted or expired prescription drugs don’t just take up space in your medicine cabinet, they’re also a danger to have around. After all, you, or someone else, might accidentally take the wrong drug. Or someone may abuse your drugs.




You may have heard that it’s a bad idea to flush drugs, so what are you to do?

Participate in the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 26, 2013.

If you can’t participate in the take-back day, there are other options, such as safe trash disposal. Learn more about that, and other ways to protect yourself and the environment: Visit the FDA’s guide for how to safely dispose of drugs.

How do you dispose of unwanted drugs?

Back to School Recycled Style with Treesmart Supplies

July 31st, 2013

I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking in this case. Treesmart makes some awesome recycled pencils, colored pencils and rulers. Do check them out for your back to school shopping.

Second life for newspapers

The ruler is made from recycled newspaper and recycled plastic, while the pencils and colored pencils are made from recycled newspaper.


Have you tried pencils made from recycled newspaper? They have some character to them, though that may be difficult to see in my photos. You do see letters, and the eraser works really well.

Note the super cute packaging for the colored pencils! And, uh, the cat foot…


These are hard, just like wood. (No jokes, people.) So, don’t worry about a flimsy product. They feel just like colored pencils that are made from wood. However, do note that these are mini colored pencils.


Look at the pretty colors.


What else from Treesmart

Treesmart also makes mechanical pencils, pencil cases and supply boxes from recycled candy wrappers and potato chip bags!

Are you shopping for recycled school supplies?

Disclosure: I received these pictured items at no cost from Treesmart.

Kid-friendly Alternative to Paper Mother’s Day Card

May 1st, 2013

I was out walking my puppy Stella when I saw this sidewalk art. It’s a tribute to a mother, and so sweet!

It occurred to me that such sidewalk art would be a great alternative to a paper Mother’s Day card.

Yes, Mother’s Day is May 12!




So, Dads and kids old enough to read this, hope for no rain, and get your hands on some chalk!

The neighbors will know how much mom is loved.

What other ideas do you have for nontraditional Mother’s Day gifts?

Living Wall at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Green Rooftops of Paris

May 1st, 2013

I was about to leave Paris, nibbling on my last macaron bought on a whim at the airport, when I saw this awesome living wall near my gate at Charles de Gaulle. Maybe it’s called a living panel though.


The French really know how to make things beautiful, don’t they? I won’t even begin to describe the airport bathrooms! Anyhow, besides this spectacular living wall, I also spied some green rooftops.

This Paris green rooftop photo was snapped from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Let it never be said I don’t exercise. That was a tough climb up those nearly 300 stairs, but the view was worth it, even in the ever-present April drizzle.


There were other great, multi-level green rooftops as well, but the lighting was a bit of a challenge, and those images are grainy. However, I will leave you with the Eiffel Tower on a grey day.


And PS, it did rain on each of my five days in Paris, but that was just all the more excuse for a noisette!

Adventures in Reusable Bags, Things People Say to Me

March 2nd, 2013

For your reading pleasure, I present a collection of quotes and happenings from my adventures with reusable shopping bags in a city not particularly known for being green.

Of course, this isn’t meant to discourage anyone from taking their own bags to the store. The post is purely for entertainment purposes. Taking bags is worth it!


The funniest thing any cashier has said to me:

“You’re my first bag lady of the day!”


The biggest mess I made:

Machine washed a whole bulb of garlic inside one of my bags.


Most common misunderstanding with cashiers:

“Are you buying these?”


Most common question from cashiers:

“Do you want your meat in one of these too?” (well, yeah.)


Most annoying thing any cashier has said:

“It sure takes a lot more time to put stuff in these bags.” (no one was in line behind me.)


Question from puzzled cashier:

“So, you must really hate plastic, right?”


Most embarrassing thing a store manager said loudly:

“These bags look like lingerie!” (he was referring to my Chico bags.)


Please share some of your adventures with reusable bags.


(image via flickr Kanu Hawaii)