Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eco-Friendly Eyewear

I think this is one of those things that people don't think about when it comes to living a greener lifestyle. We sort of accept that there are some aspects of our lives that we cannot or will not "go green" with, that there are some things that will always be environmenally unfriendly. But as with all things, technology has made it possible for us to take another step forward.

Take, for example, the eco collection by Modo. The company itself was founded in 1990 by an Italian immigrant who moved to NYC and wanted to make a difference - and now they're offering eco-friendly frame options for people with prescription lenses and those who are looking for sunglasses or non-prescription lenses. The frames are affordable, running about $129 per set (not plus the cost of prescription lenses), and can be ordered directly from the company via their website (as can any non-prescription sunglasses) or purchased from optical centers that offer the eco line. Their options are simple, comfortable, and most of all, stylish. The best part, though, is how their company operates. They use all recycled products to make their frames. For every frame set sold, they plant a tree. And, most awesome of all, they provide an easy way for consumers to donate unused frame sets to those in need of eyeware in less-developed countries. How great is that?

How do I know all this? Well, today I had my first eye appointment ever. And it turns out I have an astigmatism, so I need glasses. It also just so happens that Wal-Mart, of all places, carries the eco line! I was drawn there almost immediately, and quickly found something I liked. It makes me feel great (and so does the idea that in about a week my near-constant headaches will hopefully be going away)!

Next topic: IPT (Infant Potty Training, NOT the same as EC)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Partial shipment arrival!

First, I have to say, I am VERY impressed.

I ordered the Blueberry items on the 29th of April and took the basic shipping option, which was a 7-10 business day, no insurance option. I figured I still had some time before they arrived, since they were coming USPS. Ladies (and gentlemen?), my items are already here, in great shape. They arrived in a standard USPS shipping bag with no extra packaging. Promptness is always one of my big-deal things with any merchant, and I have to say that they get a 10 for that!

I feel almost bad using any of this stuff. These diapers are soft as silk and gorgeous. They're fuzzy and look insanely comfortable, and the best part is that since I also ordered two feminine pads, I can enjoy some semblance of what my baby gets to wear on his butt. I still say he has the better end of the deal, though.

The best part is that I still have more shipments coming today, and I'm waiting on an order from Kelly's Closet to ship. I will be leak-testing the Minkys tonight because I have heard too much about them not to!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's 4AM and I feel lonely!

First of all, I am a seasonal allergy sufferer. Now, when I say "sufferer" I say it with all seriousness. The mere thought of springtime and pollen makes my nose start to run. It's one of those places where modern medicine and I agree 100%, and I take a generic form of ZyrtecD's 10mg pill. Antihistamine is a necessity for me. So forgive me if this is somewhat incoherent, as I have not yet gotten to take my lovely happy "please help me stop sneezing and clawing out my eyes" pill!

I have multiple cloth diapers on the way. As you may know, I have thus far tried the following diapers and combinations:

gDiapers with disposable liners (newborn)
gDiapers with flats (newborn)
BumGenius 3.0 AIOs (infant to toddler)
WonderWraps with Chinese prefolds (infant to toddler)

I now officially have a toddler on my hands, as A is cruising and crawling without difficulty. I would like to note that I have the following diapers en route and will be reviewing them as I go:

Gro Baby (one dipe with two organic cotton snap-in soakers)
Two more WonderWraps
Two Blueberry Minky OS Bamboo
Two Imse Vimse Organic training pants (for G)
Four Thirsties Fab Fitteds (medium; we'll see if they fit)
Four Thirsties diaper covers

Thus far I have been using the WWs with just a prefold inside, newspaper-style, no pins or Snappis. I do not own any Snappis because I am currently unwilling to purchase even more prefolds (the ones I have are a larger size and already do not fold in a way to wrap them around A's waist, the chunker) than I already have so I am stubbornly making do. Here's a brief rundown/reminder of my thoughts on the diapers I have and have used:

gDiapers with liners: Do. Not. Like. I am looking to get rid of these, actually; I have two of the smallest diapers in orange and cream, four liners, and a package of liners. Please take them off my hands. I don't have a set price, yet, so make an offer.
gDiapers with flats: A total waste of time. This is what helped me learn that flats are evil. The flats don't fold well into the liners, and the liners are the only thing keeping the diaper water-resistant. Thus, leaks and bunching.
WonderWraps with prefolds: Despite not pinning, I have found that a newspaper fold inside a WW works surprisingly well, especially as a quickie diaper. I would not travel with this method, just in case (I'm a worry wart), because there's nothing keeping the prefold in place; that being said I've found no extensive slipping or sliding. I haven't tried the India prefolds yet but I really like the Chinese; they are truly incredibly soft.
BumGenius 3.0 AIOs: These are awesome diapers. They are a great middle-ground for both cost and efficiency. They don't stain any easier than any other diaper and they fit pretty well (on their biggest setting they still fit my potty-training three-year-old, G!). My concern is that A is currently on the largest setting, and because of his wetting tendencies I need to keep the front portion snapped down on the farthest setting. Putting in an extra one of the microfiber liners makes the diaper too bunched. These are also sort of tough to fasten properly onto a baby with a big tummy (one that he's rapidly losing as he becomes even more mobile, sigh). However, they're easy to store and wash.

As a note, for all washing purposes I have an older dryer, a top-loading regular washer (although we have a brand-new one, woo!), and Rockin' Green soap in whatever scent I happen to get.

I have also ordered two organic cotton feminine pads from Swaddlebees. I wanted to get them from Cotton Babies, but they were out of stock, so I went to the source. I use pads at night often while on my period and am quite excited to give these a try. I'd love to work with some kind of reusable tampon! I've attempted something akin to a DivaCup (the "Instead" disposable cups) but I am thus far incapable of using them properly. Someone want to tutor me on how to use these things and I may seriously consider purchasing an actual DivaCup when I'm able!

As a sidenote, I am finally growing herbs! I was attempting to grow strawberries, too, but for whatever reason they have died, and I need to start over. I have parsley, oregano, and cilantro; the parsley and oregano are doing great, but the cilantro doesn't seem to have any clue what it's doing (although having G mess around with it and start putting his hand in the pot doesn't help any). Wish my herbs luck. I'll probably be restarting the strawberries after the move.

Let's see, what else.

Oh, next month we will be moving and this month we are looking for new housing. So expect some craziness during that!

My CottonBabies shipment should arrive tomorrow. That's one of the nice things of living 2 1/2 hours north of the store - shipments come really quickly! I haven't gotten shipping confirmation yet from Kelly's Closet, and I'm hoping my Swaddlebees order will be shipping on Monday.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


No more planting today, unfortunately. I wanted to see if I could get anything done but to no avail - instead, it was a quiet day. I took the boys outside so G could play with some sidewalk chalk and both of them could get some sun. It turns out that neither one wanted to stay outside very long, but at least we got out there.

Tonight we'll have money for groceries, and we'll need one thing tonight (formula, unfortunately), but everything else can be bought tomorrow. I can't wait - I LOVE going grocery shopping! We've become broccoli addicts around here, and it turns out that if you cut it up and put it in plastic bags in the fridge, it lasts a long time. Which is great, I think, because a little broccoli can go a long way.

That's unfortunately about it. New washer works great. Need to make some kind of post plan for tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Today is planting day.

I've spent most of the day getting together my pots and my soils and coconut fiber stuff and peat. Most of it's in little clumps that look freeze-dried - they've had to be saturated for about 10 minutes each but I have it all done. The soil - Organic Miracle Gro! - is already ready to go and is sitting in the bag in my living room.

You might be asking, "Why aren't you planting in the ground like a normal person with a yard?" Well, that's twofold - first, because the soil here SUCKS and it does not like green things. Second, because we won't be staying here past June. Those who are unfamiliar with my story should know that we will only be in this house until May or June, at which point our lease ends and we will be moving on. We could probably sign another one, but honestly we're done paying $500 a month (rent-to-own) for a place that is our own but is mediocre, and dealing with a negligent and confusing landlady whose bank doesn't want the house in their name anymore and who dislikes us (looooong story). So our stay here, as great as this place has been, is almost up. In lieu of permanent plantings outdoors, I've chosen to do a lot of potted plants - I have three small pots of spices (parsley, orgeano, and cilantro (or coriander if we choose!), a hanging basket of strawberries, and I have two hanging baskets still to plant that will be broccoli, butter leaf lettuce, and green beans. Everything but the veggies are planted and seeding, and I plan on finishing them in my coconut fiber planters tomorrow that I can hang outside. I LOVE coconut fiber, because as long as you don't over-water things, it will hold in the liquid and still allow proper drainage without soaking through or letting pieces of soil drop through. All the same, until I'm used to using the coconut fiber as a basket instead of a planting medium (the herbs are in peat, the veggies will be in organic potting soil, and the strawberries are in coconut fiber), I'm going to be hanging them outside where I can keep an eye on them. I wanted to hang them off of our deck, but that just isn't an option, unfortunately.

Also, we seem to have some sort of plants coming up in our front yard and around our house! Pictures later, as they look like tulips to me, but based on leaves alone I can't identify things for the life of me. Maybe one of you talented, knowledgeable peoples can help me out.

Weather here has been in the 70s today and that should hold out with plenty of sun through the weekend, when it'll crawl into the 80s. I could not be happier! This is amazing. We might take G to a local park that has water jets at it. Free, fun, and it gets us all outside. That's the best part of spring.

And speaking of G, he celebrated his 3rd birthday on Sunday. His actual birthday was Monday, but Sunday was free for most everybody. He made a good haul - a lot of books, a LeapFrog Jr. and books with it, and a lot of Nick Jr. toys. He adores that station and the online games that come with it, and I don't mind much. Other than the fact that it means he spends a lot of time on the computer (we don't have cable), it's cute, and educational - and let's face it, I couldn't teach him Mandarin like Kai-Lan does. We had his well-child checkup today - no shots - and he's in the 93rd percentile overall, 73rd in height (or so) and 95th in weight (or so). He's so smart.

Meanwhile, A is now mobile. He figured out crawling (although he's still very slow) and cruising at the same time. All that and he still has no teeth. It's amazing sometimes, and at other times it's scary that he's this big, this old, and still has no teeth. Today is organic baby food day, because I feel too lazy to get something ready for him. I might steam some carrots later to give myself something to do. I really want to plant more but I'd have to do so outside, and C is off trying to find a new job while G is napping in our room.

I just love planting. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Is that what I get for being born on Earth Day? Has anybody else started indoor planting yet? If so, what are you working on?

OH YEAH. We got our new washer! WOOHOO! I can go back to cloth at home!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


First of all, a HUGE apology.

Part of being a responsible blogger is to acknowledge and accept the responsibility of actually updating said blog on a regular enough basis to make reading it a worthwhile venture for followers. I have not been upholding my end of this bargain, and as such, I am VERY sorry. I know that apologies don't really do much for most people, especially when the reason offered happens to be indiscriminately vague: namely, I have been depressed.

Okay, so let's take it a little further. I am the kind of depressed that modern medicine has been struggling to help.

I know that the crunchy thing to do would have been to take some St. John's wort and continue on with my life. Unfortunately, as we all know, sometimes the crunchy option is not always the best. Instead, I am on Lexapro, via prescription from my OB. I am also no longer on my previously chosen form of birth control (the Mirena IUD). The decision was made that the combination of the anti-depressant and the hormones were making my previous depression problems worse. For now, we are using a combination of not really having sex, pull 'n' pray, and condoms to prevent pregnancy. Once I have an established cycle back, we'll go into the "natural family planning" option of charting - not to conceive, of course, but to avoid it (colloquially referred to as "TTA" or "trying to avoid" by most of the forum communities I'm a part of). I'm already vaguely familiar with charting, so learning how to do it fully and keeping track of my cycles should (hopefully) not be difficult for me. It'll also be fun to help C learn how to do everything!

Also, I have made a couple of decisions. First and foremost, for anyone who is aware, I have a blog called "Believe In The Flowers". Although it hasn't been updated in several months, as of today, I will no longer be updating it. I won't be shutting it down, in case I ever want or need to access it again, but I have no intention of ever continuing to use it. This was a personal decision that I made based on the fact that I already don't update the blogs that I do have. I see no reason to continue a blog that has no real purpose to me anymore. Granted, I do still have things I want to complain about - don't get me wrong about that! - but I can always torture anyone and everyone that reads this blog as well by occasionally sharing my woes here.

More importantly (at least in my opinion), I have changed my name on Twitter. I used to be @bitf and as of this morning I have become @crazycrunchy instead. I have 24 followers who this currently affects, and I have sent all of them a direct message. However, if you are a follower, and you notice that @bitf is no longer updating, that would be why!

Regular posting will resume tomorrow!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

For Haiti

I know this isn't what this blog is actually about. This blog is about living a crunchier lifestyle, about being more green and bettering our own lives and our world through our environmental impact.

However, I think it's more important to be able to help others when we're able, and right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people right now in Haiti who are crying out for help from anyone and everyone.

I think everyone knows pretty well by now about the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti. Its capitol, Port-au-Prince, has been destroyed - the President's residence has been leveled, houses and businesses have crumbled, hospitals have collapsed on their patients and residents. Estimates of loss of life are varying; some reports cite a mere 30,000 deaths, while others estimate upwards of half a million people died in the early morning earthquake - and thanks to a lack of supplies, clean facilities, and hospitals, thousands more will undoubtedly pass away in the time between the quake and end of the week. Tonight, mothers and babies in Haiti are sleeping on the streets, surrounded by squalor, human fluids (blood, vomit, feces, and urine), and potential pickpockets. There is no electricity, no plumbing, and there is no safe place for families or individuals to stay. They are sleeping out in the streets, without supplies or enough food to go around for every person to have a full belly at the end of the day. People just like you and me, who work hard for what they have and who have spent their lives struggling to earn the meager $2 a day that most Haitians live off of, have lost absolutely everything, and will not easily be able to recover. Families have lost their homes, belongings, and life savings all at once. They do not have jobs anymore, nor houses, or beds. Babies at night cry for their favorite toy, parents mourn their lost family members and friends.

In short, Haiti is in ruins right now. We have ignored them long enough, we have stood by for so long and watched their struggles as an impoverished nation from afar and simply shrugged our shoulders and said, "Well, it's not me." We've given here or there, or maybe not at all, and have allowed ourselves to feel better about our decisions because for some reason their needs and wants haven't been as important as our own. Now is the time to reach out, to help, to offer more than what makes us comfortable. It's time to remember our fellow human beings the way we would want them to remember us, with open hearts and ears and the willingness to do whatever we need to in order to help and perhaps ease just a bit of their pain.

Obviously, we can't bring back those they have lost, nor can we immediately impact those that may well lose their fight before relief workers can get to them. But there are hundreds of thousands that we CAN help, that we MUST help because they too are important, because they need us and because we CAN help them.

So, how can you help?

There are a couple of options by text. You can text "Haiti" to 90999 to have $10 charged to your cell phone bill. That $10 will go to the American Red Cross for use in relief efforts. You can also text "Yele" to 501501 to have $5 charged to your cell phone bill that will go to Wyclef Jean's fundraising relief efforts. I have done both, because it's a quick, easy way to begin helping those in Haiti.

Beyond that, the most obvious way to help is to make monetary donations. MSN.com has offered a comprehensive list of organizations and their contact/website information. All of these organizations are accepting donations or offers of assistance to help the earthquake survivors in Haiti. I highly suggest you check out each and every site, and see what you as an individual or a family can do to help.

Lastly, blood donation. The American Red Cross states that because no request for blood to Haiti has been made that they are not specifically collecting blood for the Haitian survivors right now. However, it doesn't take a lot of common sense to figure out that the request WILL be made - be it in Haiti, or in Florida or the surrounding communities where survivors are transferred. Let's face it: blood will be needed. Plasma will be needed. There will be hundreds of people needing transfusions or donations, and in the next few days, as the relief efforts kick into full gear, the need for blood will be extreme. As such, I highly suggest that everyone who is able should make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible. Granted, the majority of blood tends to stay within the community to which it is donated, but when the call comes in, the Red Cross may well need to pull from all of its reserves, and that will leave some communities depleted.

It breaks my heart to think of those who have been so strongly impacted by this event. There are people in nations all over the world who are mourning the losses of friends and relatives. There are mothers who are grieving the losses of their babies, sisters and brothers who are missing their siblings, children who are without a parent or caretaker. There are parents who have no idea how they will continue to provide for their families, children who have no school to attend, and thousands who are in dire need of medical attention who will die before they can be reached because of a lack of medical supplies.

Please, help the families in Haiti. And after you have helped them, REMEMBER them, and the millions of people all over the world who live without enough, who go day to day without knowing where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep, and consider helping them out, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The things in our foods

Little Debby red velvet snack cakes - propylene glycol monostearate (used as an emulsifier and in industrial solvents, paint and coating solvents, polyester and alkyd resins, antifreeze coolants, heat transfer fluids, deicing fluids, plasticizers, detergents and surfactants, and bactericide" [1])
Hidden Valley original ranch dressing - contains glutamic acid via addition of MSG (monosodium glutamate, which "is in a class of chemicals known as excitotoxins, high levels of which have been shown in animal studies to cause damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood-brain barrier and that a variety of chronic diseases can arise out of this neurotoxicity" [2])

Diet sodas, gums, Equal, NutraSweet - aspartame ("Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into natural residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products including formaldehyde, formic acid, and a diketopiperazine ", "Studies have also been conducted regarding aspartame's effect on the production of Leptin which controls food intake and energy expenditure by acting on receptors in the mediobasal hypothalamus. These studies have shown that leptin was "significantly reduced by 34%" after "chronic ingestion of aspartame (ASP)" [3])

A variety of premade and prepackaged foods - cancer-causing agents and chemicals ("Cancer-causing chemicals such as acrylamides may be formed in the food during high-heat processing, yet there's no requirement to list them on the label. Residues of solvents, pesticides and other chemicals may also be present, but also do not have to be listed." [4])

So let's make that our side note of the day. I made my husband throw away the Little Debbie cakes (ugh, I actually ate one of those things!) and I told him we have purchased our last bottle of ranch dressing. Besides, it's no big loss - he has a spice combination recipe that he uses often to make ranch dip with sour cream. Adding in a little milk can turn it from a dip into a dressing without a problem - and with no MSG!

Let's try to be more careful about the things that we ingest. Let's make a resolution to read the labels on all of our prepackaged goods, and if you see something you don't know or recognize in your food, LOOK IT UP! Don't stand by silently and allow yourself (and your families) to keep eating this crap. It's disgusting and the worst part is that the FDA and other government-run agencies ALLOW these things to be used in our food, claiming that they're food-grade and acceptable for us to put into our bodies. I'm willing to bet that these things don't metabolize well and certainly don't digest well.

Coming tomorrow: a review of Kid Bean, a company that offers vegan, organic baby, maternity, and nursing products!

1: http://chemicalland21.com/industrialchem/solalc/PROPYLENE%20GLYCOL%20MONOSTEARATE.htm
2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamic_acid_(flavor)
3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame
4: http://www.naturalnews.com/019957.html

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, I hope everybody had a GREAT time last night, no matter what you did. One of my close friends came over and we watched "Up" and drank spumante. Ooooh yes! Good times had by all, I think. What did you all do for the evening? (Note: Those who answer "went to bed at my normal time" get five points.)

At the moment I'm kind of in between things. At the moment, there are actually a couple of things I could be doing - working on my BabyLegs or putting more buttons on Alex's new hat - but I'm in the middle of a weight loss moment that hopefully will continue on through at least the next month. Ha, ha ha. I crack myself up.

So in lieu of working on something constructive, I offer the following site:

Saffron Rouge Organic Beauty!

This company offers organic makeup and bodycare products for men, women, children, and babies alike. Their products are free of dyes, chemicals, and fragrances, which is a perfect match for people like me who have extremely sensitive skin (I have psoriasis and am allergic to nickle and some other trace metals). I'm not a big makeup person, but I know it's time for me to move to finding some kind of organic, chemical-free makeup that I can safely use when I do choose to put some on. For general skincare products, I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees, but they don't sell actual makeup beyond some lip products. (Which, by the way, did you know that they make a lip balm with peppermint in it?! I LOVE PEPPERMINT. Seriously.) So what's a girl who wants organic makeup to do?

Well, it seems that Saffron Rouge is the answer. Their color options aren't huge, for sure; if you want a multitude of weird colors, I'd highly suggest you wander off to Wal-Mart instead. But they do offer a nice, rounded variety of typical colors for everything - lipsticks, mascara, eyeliner, foundation, powders, blushes, and bronzers, and organic makeup removers to take it all off once you're done for the day. They even sell tools - brush sets and sponges - made of cruelty-free fibers and organic sponge.

Plus, it gets better - they sell bath and shower products, haircare products, shaving accessories, diaper creams and baby shampoos, gift sets, aromatherapy sets - yikes! They carry the whole shebang, and then some!

No, I'm not getting anything free from them. Nor do I know anyone who works there. But I like what they sell, and I think they're a worthwhile company, so I thought I'd share them with you all.

Happy 2010!