Saturday, January 28, 2012

Victorian Winter Scenes

by Katy Green

As you know we love anything Victorian and what could be better than a Victorian Winter scene? I can't think of anything cozier. Enjoy.

Victorian Winter Scene
Couple Walking

Victorian Winter Couple
Victorian House in a Winter Wonderland

Victorian Winter Art

Friday, January 27, 2012

How To Make This Yummy Smelling Chocolate and Strawberry Lover's Soap

By Mistie

In honor of Valentine's Day I decided to create a new soap. Chocolate and Strawberry are very popular for this holiday and I know that my special someone is a total chocoholic so I decided to combine these two flavors. Plus there are a lot of benefits for your skin in chocolate and strawberries that I will mention later in this post.

How did I make this delicious looking soap? While my white glycerin (approx. 2lbs) was melting in my double broiler I chopped up and mashed about 3 large organic strawberries in my pestle. I mashed the strawberries until they were a gooey pulp. I then took the melted glycerin off the stove and added the strawberry pulp along with 2 large tablespoons of coco powder (recommend organic fair trade coco powder). I also added a tablespoon of cold pressed olive oil to the mixture.

I decided to whisk my mixture vigorously. Typically you try not to get too much air into your soap mixtures but I decided that I wanted the top of my soap to have a bubbly and frothy texture like a warm hot coco. I whisked it until the coco powder was thoroughly mixed with no clumps and then poured it into a nine mini loaf pan, the perfect size for a soap bar. I left my soap to harder overnight and cure for the next few days. Below is the result.

I am very pleased with how this soap came out. Not only does this soap smell VERY delicious but there are many benefits to using it as well. First this soap is natural and detergent free with no parabens, preservatives and dyes.  Chocolate and strawberries both contain antioxidants, which is, known to fight cancer. Strawberries are extremely high in Vitamins C and K as well as pantothenic acid, Vitamin B1, folic acid, and iodine. Bonus, the strawberry seeds have been mixed into this soap making it a great exfoliate for that dry winter skin. According to Marlies Spinale, director of Tru Spa, "Like many other antioxidants, cocoa polyphenols are thought to offer the skin protection from free-radical damage caused by sun, pollution, stress, alcohol consumption and other factors." Let's not forget the olive oil, which is rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene. Olive oil is also suppose to stimulate new cell generation, plus it makes a good moisturizer. 

Chocolate and Strawberry Lover's Soap makes a great Valentine's Day gift. So try to make some of this soap for your chocolate lover this Valentine's Day or you can purchase a bar at Shop to be Green under the 910 Joy Avenue label, which I created in honor of my grandmother.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Take a Tip from Tutera on Eco Weddings!

by Katy Green

As I always say, I'm happy to share tips when I think there is something eco-worthy. It's the most earth friendly thing to do!

Check out a clip with David Tutera on Eco-Bride Tips from the My Fair Wedding show on WE. For more on eco-weddings check out Shoptobegreen's Eco Wedding Page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eco Friendly Crayons - Not Waxy or Toxic!

by Katy Green

Crayons Melted

Kids Love Crayons...crayons are colorful and fun but are crayons safe for your kids and do they contribute to non biodegradable waste?

According to Wikipedia, the word "crayon" was first recorded in the Webster's Dictionary in 1644 A.D., the word derives from (chalk) and the Latin word creta (Earth). The most popular kids crayons are made by Crayola, established in 1903. The famous yellow box of crayons that kids use worldwide is made of an oily paraffin wax.
On the Crayola factory website it states that Crayola Crayons are made from two basic ingredients: paraffin wax and pigment. Heated tanks store the wax. Pre-measured pigments are added to the wax and mixed.
Paraffin wax is not the most earth friendly ingredient for kids to handle but Crayola and the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) claims the trace amount of asbestos in two Crayola crayons made by Binney and Smith were so so small it is scientifically insignificant. The Crayola crayon study was conducted in 2000. In addition, Crayola crayons are not biodegradable but they do melt into a plastic goop.

Crayons are not biodegradable.
STOP: If you are thinking of throwing your Crayola crayons in the

Please send your crayons to Crazy Crayons in Colorado. As of January, 2012, Crazy Crayons collected over 77,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from schools, restaurants and many caring organizations across the USA.

Natural Crayons
A safer alternative to wax crayons is natural crayons that are handmade using natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, beets, carrots, cur cumin, purple sweet potato, red cabbage and spinach, soy, bee and palm wax. For more information on Natural Crayons, click here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Green Remedies for a Sad Stomach!

by Katy Green

A Sad Stomach need Rest

Nothing is worse than an upset stomach because it weakens your spirit, mind and body. Most people take antacids and anti diarrhea medication to relieve their unhappy stomach but it is not natural.

Relieve your upset stomach (gastrointestinal tract ) and recover organically  with Shoptobegreen's Green Remedies for a Sad Stomach:
    1950's Pepto Bismol AD
  • Pepto Bismol (Kaopectate) may reduce the severity of symptoms but it is not organic. According to Dr. Weil, the anti-diarrhea medications may worsen or prolong issues caused by parasites or bacteria. If a parasite or bacterial infection has caused diarrhea, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed and if you experience discomfort for more than three days go see a doctor don't try to self medicate because it could be serious especially if you have a fever.
  • BRAT Diet
  • Try the BRAT diet (same diet for a baby ) banana, rice, applesauce and toast. I prefer to drink gingerale (see below).
  • Avoid the following foods if your visits to the bathroom are spent in agony or if your stomach is louder than your TV:
        •  Milk and other dairy products
        • Caffeine
        • Greasy and fatty foods
        • Spicy foods
        • Alcohol
  • Try to avoid heavy foods until you feel 100% better.
  • Homemade Ginger Ale
  • Ginger Ale which is carbonated and made from real ginger is great for an irritated stomach.
    • Did you know that you can make your own Ginger Ale at home instead of buying the soda in the store. According to the HealthyHomeEconomist, you can make your own ginger ale which is better for your body. Click here for the Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe.
  • Carob powder can help soothe irritated intestines. Try one tablespoon of carob powder mixed with applesauce and honey to make it palatable. Take it on an empty stomach.
  • Many people believe peppermint tea is for an ailing stomach but it could make you worse if you have heartburn or (GERD). Don't drink peppermint tea if you have a gall bladder problem or gall stones.
  • Don't take probiotics till your healthy and consult with a doctor first.
  • Chamomile tea relieves heartburn, indigestion, and colic and is completely harmless and it is safe for babies.
  • Drink chamomile tea in moderation if you are pregnant and avoid chamomile if you are in your first trimester or if you have a high risk pregnancy. Always consult your doctor first.
    Fennel Seed Tea
  • Cinnamon helps break up intestinal gas that has traditionally been used to combat diarrhea and morning sickness. Studies show that cinnamon may help to relieve mild abdominal discomfort caused by excess gas. One-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl of applesauce tastes good and calms the stomach.
  • Fennel is rich in phytoestrogens and is often used for colic, irritable bowel and improving digestive system. Do not use if you are pregnant. Natural fennel tea is available at any green grocer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dry Feet Cure....Organic and No Chemicals!

by Katy Green

During the winter my skin takes a beating and my feet begin to resemble dried wood. I suffer from chronic allergies year round and during the winter I stock up on baskets of organic moisturizer.

Many people suffer from dry and cracked calloused feet especially in colder regions. There are so many products available on the market that promise you softer skin if you try their mass produced products filled with toxic chemicals.
Solay Whipped Butter

I am not kidding....Did you know that RETINYL PALMITATE has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer in animal studies. As a precaution, pregnant women might want to avoid it. For more information, check out Body Lotions to Avoid at Greener

It is crucial that you avoid anything with a chemical fragrance if you have sensitive skin or suffer from chronic allergies or dermatitis.
Immune Boosting Natural Foot Soak with Himalayan Salt
It is important to also scrub dead skin and if you suffer from diabetes taking care of your feet is extremely important. For more information on caring for your feet as a diabetic, click here.

There are tons of home remedies to care for your feet, Shoptobegreen selected our Top 5 Favorite Fissures Organic Remedies:
  1. Oil and Sugar Scrub: Mix 4 tablespoons of raw sugar in a 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil or coconut oil.  Apply scrub and add a natural moisturizer before you go to bed.
  2. Ripe Banana Soak: Ripe bananas you no longer want to eat are great treat for dry feet . Apply the mashed pulp of ripe bananas on the dry and cracked area of your feet. Leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash with warm and cold water alternatively.
  3. Milk Bath: Milk is great for dry feet or skin. Add a cup of milk to your warm foot bath and soak for 10 minutes.
  4. Raw Honey and Lavender: soothing for skin and mind. Mix five teaspoons of raw honey with two teaspoons of lavender oil and a dash of sea salt
  5. Drink 6 glasses of water daily and eat lots of vegetables because what you consume is more important than anything else.

If you are experiencing severe discomfort with your heels or feet, please consult a medical professional.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Demolishing Property is Green or Not?

by Katy Green

Eline Nordegren's Mansion
I am a news scanner unless it is a green or finance topic then I take a moment.

I saw a headline yesterday that caught my attention "Tiger Wood's Ex Wife Demolishes $12M Mansion" the first thing that popped into my head was what a waste but since I am not one to make quick judgements, I read the entire article today on another site.

According to Ecorazzi, Elin Nordegren demolished her luxurious home because...
It wasn’t built to the South Florida wind-loading codes of today that were put in place because of hurricanes. We had an architect and a structural engineer out here and everyone agreed that it made more sense – structurally and economically – to tear it down and start over.”
Nordegren invited Habitat for Humanity into the mansion to strip it for all its parts including tens of thousands of dollars worth of cabinets, fixtures and more. For more on the article, click here.
Either way, from a earth friendly perspective it is still not organic to have such a huge monstrosity. Why not live simple?  Does anyone really need that much space? Think of all electricity that is used, etc.

Small Dwellings
I think living small is the best way to leave your carbon footprint. Isn't this pretty:)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Clutter Free ....Make a Green Difference

by Katy Green

Many people examine their lives and make a resolution to live more healthy, more green, more altruistic at the beginning of the year. The best way to start the process is to organize and declutter. 

Clutter Free
TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive  is an extreme version of clutter and it features people that have a compulsion to accumulate and store large quantities of nonessential things.

Most people don't hoard but it is not healthy to hold on to stuff that you don't need and give it to charity, recycle or sell.
I am sure you are thinking "I don't have time to organize all of my email accounts much less organize my closet"
I know I feel the same way but it is important because being organized saves you time, reduces stress and is earth friendly.

Are you an "innie" or an "outie"?
  • According to, you need to decide if you are a "innie" or an "outie" before you embark on your clutter free journey.
    • An innie is someone who likes to store stuff in closed containers for a 'clean and tidy' look.
    • An outie is someone who worries that they'll forget something they don't see, so they like to organize things in plain sight.
3 Questions to Ponder:
  1. "When was the last time I used this item? If you can't remember or if you never used it then you don't need it.
  2. Will I use this item in the next 3 months? If no, then will I use it in the next 6 months? No, then you don't really need it.
  3. Are you keeping an item because it has sentimental value but you never plan to use it? Well, there is no right or wrong answer but sentiment is a symbol of a memory or an experience you can recall on any time without the item.
Five Green Ways to be Clutter Free:

Junky Drawers

Junk Drawer: If it’s out of sight, it might end up out of mind. Put junk-drawer stuff on display.
  • If you an "innie" then "a junk drawer" is your enemy.
  • Go through all of your items and decide what to keep and what to discard.
  • Most junk items are not worth saving and the more junk you have the more dust and pollution.
  • Think transparent. Small, see-through recycled glass jars can house change, push pins, rubber bands and more.
  • No plastic or boxes. Glass is the best preserver of items. (source
  • If you are an outie try to keep your glass jars to a minimum. You don't need to keep all items that you no longer need in a jar.
Mail or Bill Collector
  • Store mail or bills in an organizer near to a recyclable basket so you can discard easily.
  • Nothing is more daunting that sorting mail. Try to sort daily. I sort whenever I watch TV during the commercial breaks.
  • Best way to reduce mail is to opt for paper free which is offered by all credit card companies, banks and utility companies. 
  • Certain companies offer incentives for paying through electronic debit.
Note: Certain bills and documents must be kept for seven years. Go clutter free by creating a virtual file cabinet. Remember to use an external hard drive and keep it in a safe place. Don't use a thumb drive either.
Clothes Addict
  • Organize the closet by what you wear the most and put that first and sort by color and season. Everyone says sort by color and season first but there are certain outfits I like to wear often.
  • Store or sort all Spring and Summer clothes and place in organizer cloth bins in your closet or in storage.
  • Donate all items you no longer wear to the your local organization or to a clothes swap. For more information, visit\
Makeup and Medicine Madness
Cosmetic Recycle Programs
  • Back to MAC Program - US (MAC brand only)
  • Kiehl’s Recycle and Be Rewarded Program - US (stores only) not easily listed on website so I copied what is on their Q&A.
    When empty Kiehl’s product containers are returned you earn rewards. After returning 3 containers, you receive a Lip Balm #1. After returning 5 containers, you receive a travel sized product. After returning 10 containers you receive a full sized product valued up to $25.00. If you have further questions we suggest you contact your local store directly for further information.
  • To locate your nearest Kiehl's store, we invite you to use our Store Locator by clicking here. Simply enter your zip code to find the addresses of Kiehl's stores most convenient for you.
  • Lip-Ink Recycle Program - International
  • Return to Origins Recycling Program  - US and Worldwide (any brand Origins brand containers) not easily visible on the Origins site but one of their friendly reps helped me locate it. You can recycle at any Orgins store or department store Origins counter.
  • Recycle Caps with AVEDA - US (this is not for makeup but for general caps)