Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I'm a firm believer in the idea that knowledge is power. Hey, I'm a scientist - I can't help myself! But in all seriousness, there is no way that any of us can be expected to make the best choices for our health, our families, our wallets, and our environment without access to information that can help us with those choices. In honor of Earth Day I've assembled some online resources that I've found particularly useful for saving green:
1) Environmental Working Group's Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides
Sure buying organic produce is better for your body and the environment. But, as I'm sure you've heard, we're in a bit of a slow economy right now (shocker, I know) and everyone is watching their wallets. That's no excuse to bring home pesticide laden fruit thanks to this handy guide. The EWG tested the most common produce and came up with the top 12 you should always buy organic. Thin skinned fruits and veggies, like peaches and bell peppers, top the list. Other "conventionally" grown produce doesn't hang on to pesticides either by design - like thick skinned avocados - or because they just don't need pesticides to grow period! I know, kinda sneaky to call something organic when they never actually needed pesticides to begin with. There's a handy dandy printable PDF or iPhone app available at the site so you can have the list on hand when you shop.
2) Ideal Bite
This is a fun little site that has a lot of random bits of eco information, and you can sign up to get them sent to you by email. Fun to read, and great cocktail party conversation starters!
3) Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database
Another effort of the Environmental Working Group, this database analyzes the chemicals in different cosmetics and rates them on their safety (or non-safety I suppose). An eye opener for sure (ha!). I recently switched to mineral makeup as I was totally creeped out by all the crap in my foundation. (as a side note, I totally love the mineral makeup as all my occasional breakouts have become a thing of the past!) I'm slowly working my way through my lotions and potions and replacing them with ones that don't feature mecury, lead, nanoparticles (really creepy, but that's another story), phalates, and the mysterious "fragrance". It's a struggle, as many of this is unregulated even though we absorb a lot through our skin. I wouldn't freak out and throw everything away, as a little exposure won't kill you, but it's worth spending a few minutes on this site when you are ready to replace your moisturizer or mascara and see if you can find a "less bad" alternative.
4) Greenopia and GoodGuide
I haven't spent a lot of time on these sites, but they look like great resource for all sorts of info about different products. You can waste a lot of money chasing every item that is branded "green" but in reality some aren't really as good as they seem. Buying less is always best for saving both kinds of green, but it's nice to have options when you want to save the green in your pocket without losing the green outside.
Happy Earth Day everyone!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
About a month ago I received an invitation from a friend to a CAbi party. I was completely flummoxed on what this could possibly entail, and when pressed my friend said "It's like Pampered Chef, but all about fashion!!"
Still a bit skeptical, I looked up CAbi online and perused their catalog. On first glance I was a bit confused. Now I'm no fashionista, but I wasn't falling all over myself for the outfits in the catalog. Sometime a theme can go to far, right? They had layered pieces in ways that seemed downright weird in order to go bohemian, and then had grown women dressed in outfit "sailor "outfits. And I was skeptical of the prices too. Granted my last shopping experience was probably at T.J. Maxx or Target, but I always find myself dispointed in the quality to price ratio in most designer clothes. And I'm a grad student with limited income (and few places to wear nice clothes)!
But my friend has more style in her tiny size 2 body than I'll ever have so I decided to trust her and go over for a girls night. Fast forward a few glasses of wine and I'm running around trying on clothes like the best of them. No pushy saleswomen or bad fluroescent lighting, plus I had "Aunt Barb" going on and on about how great some of the pieces looked on me and how I'd wear them forever. How can you say no to that?
Super soft Tencel trousers (still don't know why they tied her cardigan all funny...)
Cute red jacket that I love. The belt isn't pictured, but it makes it like a mini trench or something.
It is impossible for a woman to have too many cute black tops and this one has side ruching that hides the fact that grad school wasn't kind to my waistline.
So now I've had my pieces for a few weeks and I love them! More money than I spent on clothes in a while, but I'm trying to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion. Spend more on good quality clothes that last many seasons and I'll save money in the long run. Not to mention valuable closet space! And besides, when clothes make you feel good about yourself, they are worth every penny.