Grow herbs indoors during the winter!
Late fall, winter and early spring often puts a damper on fresh herbs as they go dormant or die off in all but the warmest parts of the country. Growing a few choice herbs in a container that is moved inside during the cold seasons makes those flavors available year-round.
A mini garden in your kitchen!
Absolutely nothing is quite as impressive and satisfying as the flavor fresh herbs bring to winter recipes.
As a test, start with one pot of each herb. If they do well, consider 2 larger pots with more plants of fewer herbs, like three 6 or 12 inch containers of Basil, Thyme and Sage. You’ll grow plenty of herbs to supply your cooking for the winter. Two or three containers shouldn’t be too much to look after or keep watered.
Two of my favorite fresh herbs for cooking are Basil and Thyme. Both of them do well in well-drained pots full of nutrient rich soil. Placed on or near a window, they need at least 8 hours of light, and neither like too much water. Soil should be somewhat moist but never soggy. You should be able to feel the soil moisture when touching with a fingertip, but it shouldn’t be wet. Harvest the leaves by snipping with scissors as needed for cooking. They are both easy to grow and add such a wonderful fresh, natural perfume to the air.
There are several other herbs that also do well indoors during the winter: garlic, chives, oregano, parsley, sage and dill.
Excerpted from a longer piece: Read here.
Do The Gilmore Girls Recycle?
As the four-part Gilmore Girls revival plays on Netflix, countless fans are tuning in to answer the burning questions they’ve had since the series ended in 2007. How are Lorelai and Luke? Who is Rory dating? And just what job is Kirk up to these days?
While we’re curious about all that, of course, we’ve been pondering a perhaps more important question: Are Lorelai and Rory environmentalists? Sadly, this is unlikely to be directly addressed in the movies, but we’re pretty sure that they are. Call it a hunch.
1. They read eco-books.
One of the 339 books referenced on the show was Walden by Henry David Thoreau, considered to be one of America’s first environmentalists. He advocated for conservation and exploration of nature before that was a popular thing to do, and in Walden, wrote: “We need the tonic of wildness. … We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.”
2. They (gasp) re-wear their clothes.
Sure, Gilmore Girls is largely a parade of fashion choices (wrap dresses and knit sweaters galore), but it’s one of the only shows we can think of where the main characters actually wear their clothes again, the way real people do. For example, Rory sported the coat in this scene several times — and very kindly passed it on to Doyle (reusing for the win!).
3. They associate with eco-friendly people.
Logan mentions recycling newspapers in the season six episode “Driving Miss Gilmore,” Arbor Day is widely celebrated by the residents of Stars Hollow (there’s a tree planting involved in season two), and who is a better example of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra than Mrs. Kim? The owner of Kim’s Antiques is certainly not one to waste anything, and by reselling already-created pieces, she’s reducing the need to mine the earth’s resources further to create new products.
4. They talk (really fast) about recycling.
And now, for the definitive proof that the Gilmores recycle, it comes straight from Lorelai’s mouth.
Even though Stars Hollow is a small town, it’s a progressive place, with curbside recycling. And the Gilmore girls are progressive people, with a taste for the retro as opposed to the new — take their vintage collection of Charlie’s Angels plates, for example. Sure, they rack up entirely too many takeout boxes and disposable coffee cup containers, but we’re pretty sure the girls do what they can for the earth.
What do you think? Are the Gilmore girls recycling aficionados?
Reusable Produce Bags Rock!
When you go food shopping, bring your own reusable market and produce bags with you. If you forget, ask a store employee if you can use one of their cardboard boxes instead. You’ll not only minimize your exposure to plastic but also help reduce plastic waste. Billions of plastic bags are used every year around the world, and producing plastic requires thousands of barrels of oil a day. Furthermore, the cost of recycling them uses additional energy (plus it’s expensive). What’s even more shocking is that scientists estimate the plastic that ends up in landfills will take at least 500 years to degrade.
Market and produce bags available in LOLA’s Pop Up Store: http://www.priscillawoolworth.
The Chocolate Shop
Skip the Straw
* Whenever ordering a drink, politely request “no straw, please.”
Is it possible to live without trash? Lauren Singer proves that you can. For the last two years or so, she has been living a zero waste lifestyle
That means that for two years, as Lauren details in Seeker’s “Going off the Grid” video, nothing she has used will end up in a landfill. If she “throws” something out, it’s in the recycling bin or the compost. But stuff that can’t be composted or recycled? She keeps it — although most of what she uses is compostable or recyclable to begin with.
The few things she’s used that could end up in a landfill are in this jar.
This is the entirety of the non-recyclable, non-compostable trash she’s used in just two years.
Tips for Living without Plastic
It’s impossible to avoid plastic entirely, but there are effective ways to limit your exposure. Plastic is so commonplace in our world today that it’s nearly impossible to imagine I a life without it. Striving for a plastic-free life, however, remains a noble and worthwhile goal – and it’s becoming easier with every year that passes, as more people demand plastic alternatives and refuse to participate in the grotesque plastic waste that’s filling our planet’s landfills. Here are some tips on how to get rid of plastic at home. Don’t worry; it’s easier than you think!
1. Avoid the worst plastic offenders
If you check the bottom of any plastic container, you’ll see a number (1 through 7) inside a triangle made of arrows. The worst plastics are: #3 – Polyvinyl Chloride, an extremely toxic plastic that contains dangerous additives such as lead and phthalates and is used in plastic wrap, some squeeze bottles, peanut butter jars, and children’s toys #6 – Polystyrene, which contains styrene, a toxin for the brain and nervous system, and is used in Styrofoam, disposable dishes, take-out containers, plastic cutlery #7 – Polycarbonate/Other category, which contains bisphenol A and is found in most metal food can liners, clear plastic sippy cups, sport drink bottles, juice and ketchup containers
2. Use non-plastic containers
Carry a reusable water bottle and travel mug wherever you go. Pack your lunch in glass (Mason jars are wonderfully versatile), stainless steel, stacking metal tiffins, cloth sandwich bags, a wooden Bento box, etc. Take reusables to the supermarket, farmers’ market, or wherever you’re shopping, and have them weighed before filling. (Here is a list of 7 plastic-free lunch options.)
3. Never drink bottled water
Buying bottled water in North America is absurd, especially when you consider that bottled water is less regulated than tap water; it’s usually just filtered tap water; it’s exorbitantly expensive; it’s a gross waste of resources to collect, bottle, and ship it; and it results in unnecessary plastic waste that’s usually not recycled. (via Life Without Plastic)
4. Shop in bulk
The more items you can buy in bulk, the more you’ll save in packaging. While this mentality has been the norm for years at special bulk food stores, it’s fortunately becoming more common in supermarkets. You’ll save money in food costs and, if you drive, in the gas used for extra trips to the store. Search for items such as large wheels of cheese, without any plastic packaging, and stock up on those whenever possible.
5. Avoid frozen convenience foods
Convenience foods are among the worst culprits for excessive packaging waste. Frozen foods come wrapped in plastic and packaged in cardboard, which is often lined with plastic, too. There’s not any way around it; it’s a shopping habit that will have to go if you’re serious about ditching plastic.
6. Avoid non-stick cookware
Don’t expose yourself and your family to toxic perfluorochemicals that are released when non-stick surfaces such as Teflon are heated. Replace with cast iron (which works just as well as non-stick if seasoned and cared for properly), stainless steel, or copper cookware.
7. Make your own condiments
This could be a fun experiment in canning, and if you dedicate a whole day to it, you could have enough to last the whole year. Make cucumber or zucchini relish and ketchup when late-summer vegetables are at their peak. Items such as chocolate sauce, mustard, and mayonnaise are quick and simple to make once you get the hang of them. Everything can be kept in glass jars.
8. Let baking soda and vinegar become your new best friends
Baking soda, which comes for cheap in large cardboard boxes, and vinegar, which comes in large glass jars, can be used to clean, scour, and disinfect the house and wash dishes, replacing plastic cleaning bottles; soda can be turned into an effective homemade deodorant; and both soda and vinegar (apple cider, specifically) can replace shampoo and conditioner bottles. (Read about how I haven’t used shampoo for 18 months.)
9. Use natural cloths instead of plastic scrubbers
If you need something with scrubbing power, go for copper instead of plastic. Use a cotton dishcloth or a coconut coir brush for dishes, instead of a plastic scrub brush. Use cotton facecloths instead of disposable wipes. Don’t underestimate the versatility of old rags!
10. Keep your laundry routine plastic-free
Use soap flakes, soap strips, or soap nuts instead of conventional laundry detergents that come in plastic-lined cardboard with plastic scoops or thick plastic jugs. They are truly awful for the planet. You can read more about that here. Along the same lines, use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap. Bar soap works as a good shaving cream alternative, too.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration on how to decorate your dorm room, your office or studio, there is nothing quite like creating your own collage + vision board. It’s such a fun and creative way to liven up the space you work or live in, as well reflecting what interests you. Using nails, tape, twine, museum putty or pins to put things up, you can do this even on a budget by using what you already have: cards, magazine tear sheets, photographs, necklaces, feathers, pompoms, poems, quotes and all things you love to look at.
Recycled glass jar + light anywhere matches= MatchJar
Mother’s Day Gift – 2015
Turn small, medium and large recycled metal cans into attractive flower vases.
Another great way to repurpose is by using magazine tear sheets as wrapping paper. This is such a handy way to not only store all the many power cords that are part of our lives but to recycle, reuse and repurpose toilet paper rolls!
Houseplants Are Good For You
Houseplants have been going in and out of vogue ever since the early Greeks and Romans starting bringing their plants in from the outdoors. The Victorians loved their potted palms and the 70s wouldn’t have been the same without ferns and spider plants … everywhere. Current style dictates a lighter hand with the green things – sculptural stems and succulents rule the roost – but the truth is this: Houseplants should transcend trends. The benefits they confer should make us consider them a necessity rather than an object of décor, because honestly, good health should never be out of style.
If you need convincing, here are some of the ways that bringing plants inside helps us out.
- They help you breathe better
- They help deter illness
- They clean the air
- They boost healing
- They help you work better
Declutter for the New Year
Learn 25 ways to clean out the clutter: what to keep, toss, or donate from family photos (save), to old clothes and bags (donate), old books (donate), old eyeglasses (donate), unread mags and newspapers (recycle), old food (toss), and bits of leftover twine or yarn are perfect liners for a bird’s nest or robin roost. Place them on bushes in your yard and as the weather begins to warm, you’ll be helping keep a feather friend and her brood nice and cozy in the spring. Source: Good Housekeeping
DIY Gift Tags by Priscilla Woolworth
Since I rarely find gift tags that I like, I just make my own. One really easy and inexpensive way to make them is by either using blank kraft paper tags, or recycling cardboard from boxes of tea, cereal or pasta. Cut them in different sizes, and even larger ones can be fun too. Using ink stamps, and a black ink pad, stamp them on the blank side. Sometimes I smudged them a little, which I don’t mind. When the ink is dry, I use a hole puncher for the ribbon (which are remnants I’ve saved from previous Christmas’s).
Going Zero Waste
There’s more to it than “just getting started,” despite what many blogs will tell you. You’ve got to be prepared for a number of ongoing challenges. Many how-to articles about the Zero Waste lifestyle begin with the same encouraging words: “The hardest thing is getting started.” The insinuated message is that you’ll be on a roll as soon as you commit, that it will work out fine and be no big deal at all. In my experience, that’s not the case. In fact, I’d say that the hardest thing by far about going Zero Waste is having to live in a world where few other people care about Zero Waste. Reality dictates that those of us concerned with the amount of trash we generate are still forced to operate within a world where wasteful packaging and excess amounts of trash are commonplace, and shockingly few people even bother thinking about how many bags they carry out to the curb. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. At a time when the average American produces a stunning three pounds of trash daily, it’s more important than ever to reduce your personal waste output – but don’t expect it to be easy.
Be prepared for people to think you’re weird.
It’s not exactly cool to read, talk, and think about garbage to the extent that you’ll have to, if you’re serious about going Zero Waste. You’ll be an oddball; you’ll be “that weird jar lady” at the supermarket; and there will be days when you dread pulling your reusable containers out of your (reusable) bag because of people’s unpredictable reactions.
Be prepared for people to challenge what you’re doing.
There are a lot of folks out there who don’t like it when others “break” the rules. Take, for example, the one sour employee at the fish counter who always gives me a hard time when I hand her a glass jar to fill with fish, grumbling about how “this isn’t legal” or “it’s unhygienic.” Her complaints never go anywhere, but it makes the shopping experience unpleasant and sometimes stressful. It gets tiring having to constantly explain and defend what I do.
Be prepared to do more cooking.
One of the biggest ways to reduce waste is to stop buying pre-packaged foods, which means that you’ll have to learn how to make many household staples yourself. Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, ketchup, breads, ricotta, canned vegetables and fruits, baked goods, and pasta, among many others, are all fairly easy and straightforward to make, but they require extra time and organization. Don’t expect to do it all, but a bit of effort can go a long ways.
Be prepared to go the long way around.
No more shortcuts to the supermarket if you truly care about going Zero Waste, because the supermarket doesn’t care about waste. You’ll have to seek out alternative options for shopping that aren’t as easy to access – food co-ops that allow reusables and refills, local farms, farmers’ markets, community gardens, CSA programs, butcher shops and fish vendors, free-range egg producers,etc.
Be prepared to experiment.
It’s hard to stay loyal to conventional brands of body care products, cosmetics, and household cleaners once you realize what’s in them and how unnecessary all that plastic packaging actually is. You’ll have to branch out, try newproducts, and discover the multiple abilities of many plain household products, such as vinegar and baking soda. But it’s so worth it…
Be prepared to feel awesome
about your newfound self-sufficiency, about the minimal bags of garbage getting hauled to the curb, about the saved dollars and those spent supporting your local economy and privately-owned businesses, about your improved health by eating better and having reduced exposure to the toxic chemicals in conventional cleaners and cosmetics, about feeling better about your purchases and living a simpler life overall!
Living a sustainable lifestyle is about taking a deeper look into the products you are buying because you can change the world by what you buy. Use your buying power to influence positive change not only for you but for the planet.
25 Places to Donate Your Stuff
I think we can all agree that we probably have too much of something or items that serve no real purpose in our homes, whether it’s clothes, DVDs we never watch, unused kitchen gear, the list goes on. National charity organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are always great places to donate, but while looking for more specific ways to donate some children’s toys I came across multiple websites for children’s hospitals that are collecting gently used books and toys for their waiting rooms and activity centers. This got me thinking that there are likely lots of ways to donate items to fill a direct need. I find it incredibly motivating to think of de-cluttering in this way; if someone else can put my stuff to better use, that’s exciting. Feel free to include any organizations you know of that are seeking specific items in the comments section. Books 1. Operation Paperback sends new and gently used books to troops overseas. They also distribute children’s books to the families of troops in the U.S. 2. Books for Africa sends books to students in Africa. They accept many types of books, but are especially interested in current textbooks. 3. Local children’s hospitals (or children’s wings) are often looking for new and gently used books. Contact your local hospital for more information. Clothes 4. Soles 4 Souls and Clothes 4 Souls work to provide functional footwear and clothing to those who need them. They accept new and gently used shoes (all styles) and clothing. 5. Dress for Success provides stylish, professional clothing to women who are seeking employment. They accept all forms of business coordinates as well as handbags and coats. 6. Career Gear provides suits and dress clothes to men seeking employment. They accept all forms of business attire as well as briefcases, portfolios, watches and cufflinks, and coats. 7. One Warm Coat holds coat drives nationwide during the fall and winter to help local charitable agencies distribute warm winter coats to those in need, free of charge. Cell Phones 8. Hopeline from Verizon provides cell phones to survivors of domestic violence, helping them stay connected to their support system as well as providing a necessary tool for achieving a fresh start. They accept used but functional cell phones. 9. Lifecell Project recycles used cell phones in bulk, collects the funds from bulk recycling, and uses the funds to purchase Lifestraws (an award winning water filtration system) for those without access to clean water. DVDs 10. DVDs 4 Vets provides DVDs to veterans who are unable to obtain access to films or who are in rehabilitation. 11. Kids Flicks helps create movie libraries in children’s hospitals and children’s wings throughout the U.S. They accept children’s and young adult-oriented movies and shows. Computers 12. World Computer Exchange strives to expand access to technology in the developing world. They accept a wide variety of used (but must be in fine working condition) computers and electronics. 13. Gift my PC works with local educations organizations as well as the Wounded Warrior Project to provide students and veterans with working computers and electronics. Furniture & Home Goods 14. Furniture Bank Association of North America collects gently used home furnishings and donates them to families in need. FBA has national drop-off centers and accepts any items that will help a family start over, such as beds, tables, chairs, and lamps. 15. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore has locations nationwide and provides everything from home furnishings, appliances, and decor to building materials and paint. They accept new unused and gently used items and materials. 16. Freecycle is a well-known organization that offers an online forum for people to give away their goods to those in their community. It’s a nice way to offer up furniture and home goods to those in your community who may not be able to afford them. Fitness & Sports Equipment 17. Bikes for the World collects bikes and usable bicycle parts to provide transportation to those in the developing world. 18. Fitness for Charity provides gently used fitness and sports equipment to individuals and organizations, such as foster homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers. They accept a wide variety of equipment as long as it is in working condition. 19. One World Running collects running shoes and running gear to distribute them to those in need in the U.S. and around the world. They have nationwide drop-off locations. Baby & Children’s Gear 20. Loving Hugs provides stuffed animals to children in hospitals, refugee camps, natural disaster areas. They accept new and gently used soft stuffed animals. 21. Local women’s and family shelters are often in need of gently used toys and games. 22. KIDS distributes new baby and children’s clothing to children whose families are experiencing economic distress. I know I had quite a few duplicates and outfits my children never wore as babies, and this is a great opportunity to re-gift those items. Art & Craft Supplies 23. Carewear knits hats, blankets, and outfits for premature babies in neonatal units. They accept donations of yarn, knitting supplies, as well as handmade items. 24. The Knitting Connection makes handmade items for children in need. They are looking for donations of yarn, knitting needles, books, as well as finished knitted or crocheted items. 25. Dreaming Zebra provides music and art access to underserved children. They accept donations of art supplies as well as gently used instruments.
The Sturdy All-Purpose Mason Jar
The old-fashioned Mason Jar is back in style (and in the NYT) and not a moment too soon! Use these glass reusable jars for all your food storage needs in and out of the fridge. They are excellent for storing art or beauty supplies too and have so many uses around the home, and are a fantastic alternative to toxic plastic storage containers. What do you use your Mason Jar for?
Tips of How to Shop at Farmer’s Markets
1. Make a shopping list before you go and put it in your market bag or basket so it won’t be forgotten. 2. Walk the market before you shop because it’s easy to get carried away with the first pretty display you see. By walking the market, you’ll find what’s best that day. 3. Learn which farmers at your market are the best growers and then follow them. They’ll be the ones with the good stuff. 4. Waste less and save money by choosing the produce carefully before you buy it. Check for bruising and cuts. Produce spoils faster when it’s injured. 5. Buy produce at the peak of the season.
Download a free Farmer’s Market finder into your phone: http://www.farmstandapp.com To find out what is in season: http://www.seasonsapp.com Inspired by an article from LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-calcook-20140531-story.html
NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW
If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production. -Pete Seeger LOLA wants to know: What do you like to reuse? What have you had repaired recently? What have you bought that can be recycled?
Reusable glass storage jars rock!
Household Fixit Basics
SUSTAINABILITY AT SCHOOL
Inspiring words from the company Patagonia, urging people to be mindful of the environmental cost of new stuff. Don’t throw out good clothes that need mending like socks, jeans, shirts, sweaters, dresses and jackets. Embrace repairing them!
Read more about Patagonia’s Common Threads program and enjoy this inspiring short film too!
The Week covers news from around the world. What sets this magazine apart from other resources for news is how they give space to stories curated from the foreign press about their local stories in the news. You might read about a challenging situation in Saudi Arabia, Mongolia or Argentina, written by their local journalist. It’s all very refreshing and always an interesting read.