How To Host Thanksgiving On A Budget

How To Host Thanksgiving On A BudgetDo not let the cost of hosting Thanksgiving get you down. The point of the holidays is to have fun with your friends and family. You can host an amazing Thanksgiving with out going into debt.

No Decorations. Sounds simple right but once you start planning for the Thanksgiving you think you need to have decorations. No one really notices. It is the easiest budget saver to just skip the gourds, paper turkeys, flower centerpiece and fabric banners. If you feel the need to have something have the kids trace their hands and make turkeys you can make into a garland or just hang them up around the house. [Read more…]

My Annual Birthday Wish List

Green wish listIt has become a bit of tradition for me to post my birthday wish list here a few weeks before my birthday. This year I have a huge list! I would argue that this could cover more than a years worth of gift giving for me.

A freezer. I would reduce my food waste significantly if I had a larger freezer that was easier to navigate than the freezer I have on my fridge. I would love to get an upright, automatic defrosting Energy Star freezer. They are little pricey at about $700 but I am sure that I will save that much in food waste in less than a year so it is worth it.

New Plates. I got married almost a decade ago and my husband and i are little clumsy we barely have enough plates for everyone in the family to eat. I am not sure what kind of plate I want but I want to make sure they are totally safe… believe it or not there is a certain amount of PPM (parts per million) of lead and other dangerous chemicals that have been detected in common plates. I need to do my research and find something safe.

Gift Certificate for Stitch Fix. I have really enjoyed receiving my eco-friendly fixes. I do not get them every month but when I do I really look forward to receiving my package and trying things on.

Oh no now we get to Etsy… I have a huge wish list there: [Read more…]

Why We Need To Share Food

Why We Need To Share FoodWe waste about 40% of the food we have in our homes. I work hard to reduce that but even I waste food. I try to do many things to minimize my waste and I have written about it many times. I think the most effective thing we can do is share our food with our neighbors.

This year I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have received a variety of vegetables that I might not have had access to in our local grocery store or might not have tried. I have also received vegetables that I just do not like. Yup, even a food/environmental blogger does not like all her veggies. Cucumbers are my least favorite even though I love pickles. My neighbors (the whole family including the kids) love them so every Tuesday night I leave them fresh cucumbers on their porch when I get home from pick up. I have also left other items that I do not like. [Read more…]

What Is #Shiftcon?‏

ShiftconIf you were following me on social media this weekend you saw that I was tweeting and posting a lot with the hashtag #ShiftHappens and #Shiftcon. I was attending a conference in LA with about 200 other environmental and health/wellness writers. This conference was the first of its kind and I have to say I am so proud to have been a part of the inaugural group.

If you are an avid blog reader you have probably seen other bloggers attend conferences before and wondered what goes on there. For those of us who write about health and green topics we usually feel a little out-of-place at these conferences because the excess of items and vendors that are there pushing products we would not use so we probably would not recommend. This conference allowed us to meet with smaller brands that speak more to our mission.

I have to say this conference was way more than the brand connections it was about meeting with my fellow activists and passionate writers. Often times it is emotionally hard to write a blog on these topics we get attacked by conventional farmers for talking about GMO’s, the natural gas industry goes after you for talking about the environmental and health risks or fracking, and other times it is just average people who completely disagree with what you are writing about. This was a time for those of us who care about these issues to be re-energized by our work and share our stories. [Read more…]

Why I Am Not Mad At Annie’s

Annies HomegrownThere has been a lot of buzz in the health and wellness world about the purchase of Annie’s Homegrown to General Mills for $820 million. I have read many posts around the web about everyone’s disappointment that another great company has been purchased by a big food company. Many people discussed boycotting and trying to figure out what brands they can eat now. I am reserving my concerns for now, I think this can be a very positive outcome for our food supply and we should not assume this is horrible (yet anyway).

First of all I understand the concern. General Mills is a huge financial supporter of the Anti-labeling movement and has work hard to fight against GMO labeling. In 2012 they spent over $1 million in California to fight the labeling bill and there have been other similar fights in other states since. I strongly support GMO labeling and have worked hard on every campaign in each state that has worked to get them labeled. I want GMO’S labeled.

BUT, what I thought when I heard the news was “voting with our wallets is working.” I hate to say it but it is the American way to substantial change. We sought out Annie’s organic and non-GMO items where we could find them. We made it a viable brand and attractive to multibillion dollar food companies. It is a huge organic consumer success.<!-more->

We showed them that this kind of product is what the consumers want to purchase.

We showed that GMO ridden food is not what we want to purchase.

We showed we are an important consumer to pay attention to.

One of my favorite example of successful acquisition is Ben and Jerry’s. They sold to Unilever (also an opponent to GMO labeling) back in 2000 and people were angry then. The core mission of the company never wavered and they are now fair trade certified and are strong advocates of GMO’s labeling. And I can get Ben and Jerry’s on a whim at my local stores something that was not as easy prior to 2000 (trust me I was an early fan).

If Annie’s continues to keep to their mission that we have grown to love and trust for our children then we should not revolt but continue to show that these kinds of products are what we want to see on the store shelves.

Let’s see this as a victory and celebrate our hard work of voting with our wallets with a handful of cheddar bunnies.

Disclaimer: I am a glass half full kind of woman so I may eat these post someday but I firmly believe what I wrote here today.