Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shoptobegreen Top 10 Green Articles of 2011!

by Katy Green

Victorian New Year

We don't pretend to be the guru of all that is "green" but we work hard to share earth friendly information as much as possible!

Please comment below if there is specific "eco-friendly" topic that concerns you! We will research and post it.

Green Movement Symbol

I hope you pass this on to anyone that cares about the environment.

Shoptobegreen's Top 10 Green Articles of 2011
Note: mix of Shoptobegreen and other notable articles - click on links.

  1. Arsenic in juice: How to lower your risks
  2. Eco Romantic Candles ...A Love Affair
  3. Choosing what matters: My smaller (but still green) budget for 2012
  4. Buying Local is Sweeping the Nation like a Holiday Storm
  5. Living off the Grid is more than changing a light bulb
  6. 12 low-cost ways to save energy and money!
  7. Houston, can you see the air pollution?
  8. What’s a MAGNAblade?
  9. Jonesing for Trash into Rainbows or a Plastic Fantasy?
  10. "Victorian Inspired" Organic Wedding Favors

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eco Friendly Victorian Post Christmas

by Katy Green

Victorian Christmas Card

Well, the holidays are ending and so we are left with what I call the "odd week" between Xmas and New Years. What to do?

This is a great time to celebrate the gathering of family and friends sans gift exchange. This is also a time of reflection as well and plan for the new year.

There are many Victorian holiday traditions but there are a couple that are more appropriate during this time:

Victorian Christmas Crackers

Victorian Christmas Crackers
The Christmas cracker was invented by a sweet shop owner called Thomas Smith as way to market more sweets. He would include letters and notes to family and friends as well. We hope you enjoy this video on how to create Victorian Xmas Crackers.
Eco Friendly materials to create Victorian Crackers:
  • Use any type of cardboard rollers or plastic cups the same size to shape
  • Wrap with used magazine paper or newspaper
  • Decorate with use Xmas Cards or pictures from any magazine
  • Stuff with notes to friends, cookies and homemade sweets or crackers
Click here to: Watch the video on Victorian Crackers! 

The Peppermint Pig
The Peppermint Pig

The Peppermint Pig is a Victorian tradition created by candy makers in Saratoga Springs, NY.

According to the pig represented good health, happiness and prosperity. Old fashioned candy makers fashioned the Peppermint Pigs™ each year during the holiday season. These sweet treats were made of hard peppermint candy --similar in taste and texture to a candy cane -- and appropriately colored a very festive pink!

When families gathered together at Christmas for the holiday meal, the tradition was to break the Peppermint Pig™ after dinner (inside a small cloth pouch) using a miniature hammer. All family members would then share in eating the sweet candy pieces, hoping for good fortune in the coming year.
Christmas Card 1920's
At we believe homemade is more green friendly and it is the best way to share the experience with family so we hope you enjoy this recipe updated from Barbara M's Holiday Tradition on how to make A Peppermint Pig! You can do this during "the odd week" it does not have to be done only on Xmas Day.

Holiday Tradition of Barbara M. from Bakersfield ,United States (revised to be more green friendly)
  •  4 c.granulated sugar (3 1/2 cups of raw sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of pure apple juice)
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint oil
  • 1 square of aluminum foil (12x24 inches or larger) (can't think of alternative but we recycle aluminum foil)
  • 3/4 c. light corn syrup (honey or molasses instead)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1-2 Tbsp margarine (use a margarine alternative like Olive Oil or Coconut Oil)
  • 1 tsp marshmallow creme (use Ricemellow instead)
  • 2-3 drops red food color (use beet juice or strawberry juice or any red fruit juice for coloring)
Mix sugar, corn syrup alternative and water in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Insert candy thermometer in pan and bring to 300-degree boil. Remove from heat , add marshmellow alternative,red food color alternative and peppermint oil and stir vigorously as mixture froths up,cools and begins to thicken. Place foil on counter and smear with margarine alternative. Scraping bottom and sides of pan,pour candy on to foil to form a thin layer. While candy is cooling,press a buttered cookie cutter (a pig or any holiday style cutter) down into candy and leave it sitting there til the candy sets up hard. Break the candy outside the cookie cutter away,gently remove candy from the cutter and it is ready to serve or place in a nice pouch with a string to close the pouch.

To use it at a family gathering use a household hammer or mallet or toy hammer so everyone can take a whack at the pig in the pouch. It is then passed around the table once at least. Everyone has to state what they are willing to give up for the new and what they appreciate in the past year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Eco Friendly Victorian Holiday Traditions

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family in 1848 celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert's childhood in Germany.

by Katy Green

We are huge fans of the Victorian era at for many reasons; the simplicity and the extravagance of the gifts and holiday decorations are a perfect mix of eco-luxury and the true spirit of the holidays.

The victorian era was during the period of Queen Victoria's reign (in England each era was marked and transformed by the Queen or King that reigned - like the Elizabethan era, etc.).

Brief Victorian History:

According to Wikipedia, the Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. This era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period.

Top 5 Victorian Holiday Traditions:
  • Victorians went Christmas caroling during the holiday season. 
  • Groups of singers traveled to every house singing carols or songs, for which they were often rewarded.
  • One of the most popular rewards for their gift of song was the mince pie.
    • A mince pie is a small British sweet pie traditionally served during the holidays. Mince pies date back to the 13th century.
    • Click here for a Mince Pie Recipe.  
    • A mince pie is perfect for any gathering accomponied by a glass of full bodied red wine.
  • Carolers were also rewarded with money which they donated to charity.
  • The original term for caroling is wassailing.
Victorian Christmas Cards:

Authentic Victorian Christmas Card
  • Victorians created the first Christmas cards.
  • The antique two-sided holiday greeting card (featured above) is decorated with blue silk fringe.
  • Front says: "A Merry Christmas to You". Back says: "A Happy New Year, Health and prosperity, Your life to cheer, With every blessing, For the bright New Year".
  • According to - The "Penny Post" was first introduced in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple, a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain.
  • The "Penny Post" paved the waCy for the sending the first Christmas cards. Sir Henry Cole was the first to test this concept by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each.
    • During the first 70 years of the 19th century it was common for Christmas and other greeting cards to be recycled by women's service organizations who collected them and removed the pictures, to be pasted into scrap books for the entertainment of children in hospitals, orphanages, kindergartens and missions. This service gradually disappeared because children's books became more affordable but the concept of scrapbooking is very Victorian. You can create a scrapbook of memories for your loved ones.
    • An environmentally friendly way to express your love is to send E-cards instead.
  • Free sites for Victorian inspired E-Cards:
Visit us later today for Part II of Eco-Friendly Victorian Holiday Traditions

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Perfect Eco-Gifts for Picky People!

by Katy Green

Shopping for gifts can be a "green pain"!

I empathize with anyone that is tasked with finding gifts for someone they don't really know...yet.

Hmmm...who would that be... a new roommate, new boss or co-worker, new Mother-In-Law or In-Laws to be...the list is endless.

Don't worry is here to help you find the perfect eco-friendly gift and relieve your pain.

Newly engaged at Thanksgiving and want to impress your future Mother-In-Law? Or trying to find the perfect Mother's Day Gift?
Four Bath Essential Bath Soaks to the rescue. It is worth every penny. The salts set includes one each full size bath soak:

Solay Bath Soak
  • Stress Relief Natural Bath Soak
  • Immune Boosting Natural Foot Soak
  • Daily Detox Bath Soak
  • Pain Relief Bath Soak
Want to connect with a new friend or colleague and not sure what they like? 

Lip Balm Gift Pack

Anyone will appreciate The Lip Balm - Gift Pack

I can't recall how many times I have to buy another lip balm because I can't find it or I need an extra one for the office, car etc. The assortment of natural lip balms are a perfect gift for any personality and you could buy an extra one for yourself as only $ could buy three!

Body Relief Pillows

Any boss, will appreciate a Body Relief Pillow. Stress from work, life or any issue can lead to muscle aches and pains. The body relief pillow is a gift that keeps on giving.

Solay Soy Candle
If you are getting to know someone new that could become someone really special but you don't want to splurge yet!

Solay Wellness Candles are a great way to show that you care. Send the gift of light and wellness. We offer a variety of scents: Solay Lavender Soy Pure, Solay Rosemary, Solay Meyer Lemon and Solay Unscented Soy Pure Candle.

Remember give green every time and you save the planet!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

7 Earth Friendly Changes for the Future

by Katy Green

It seems everyone is into "green" this year. We hope it's a long term lifestyle change instead of being eco-chic for now.

According to Huffington Post, there are 7 Green Changes for Mother Earth on the horizon (well not really on the horizon it has been in process but everything takes time).

Ecological Sustainability Highlights:

Green Concrete or Carbon Negative
  • Green Concrete? Yes, regular concrete is the third largest producer of carbon dioxide but several companies are in the process of creating Green Concrete. According to GizMag, two companies are using different technologies that not only make concrete carbon-neutral but also carbon-negative. What does that mean? It's an adjective to used to describe the process of reducing global warming through reduction of greenhouse gas omissions.

Tidal Power
  • Tidal Power - Not, wind power but Tidal Power (sounds very Atlantis) Minesto has secured serious funding from The Carbon Trust to make its "Deep Green" program a reality. According to Minesto, Deep Green is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal currents.
  • If you are in the "green technology" and your are looking for a job, Minesto is hiring several people to help make this a true reality. For job listings, click here.

Tiny Eco-Friendly Homes
  • Tiny Eco Homes are not new but it seems things are getting really cozy: According to Huffington Post, this mountain retreat is 387.5 square feet. Somehow green architects designed two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. The mobile design is made to leave no mark behind when heading off to a new destination, and is prefabricated from recyclable metal cladding and wood.

    For more information on 7 Game Changes for the Future, click here.
To participate in the future of Ecological Sustainability, check out the Eco Summit for 2012. They are accepting abstracts till January 2012.