How I Got My Green Groove Back

OR: Some Happy Hippie Habits I Still Have

On Sunday I posted a rather woe-is-me piece about how I’ve lost my eco-friendly “religion” as of late (I’ve been a slacker, I’ve been in a new place – and I haven’t been adhering to my usual routine of kind-to-our-plantet practice).

It’s true.  I’ve shopped at Walmart, we’re going through roll after roll of paper towels around here, I’m drinking Keurig coffee and so on… It’s embarrassing.  Happy HIPPIE Rose is my blog after all, this is a place where I post about loving the earth and being green and all that jazz.  I’m a self-proclaimed hippie and if I expect people to trust my advice or try out my tips, there’s a certain point to which I need to practice what I preach!

And really, I usually do.  I’m blaming it on our move and all the commotion of living our of a hotel, visiting family for a week, and now moving in with my cousin and acclimating to his routines and what not.  I won’t re-hash it all – go read the post for yourself if you want to revel in my failure.

(I’m also being pretty overdramatic.)

I know I’m super far from a failure right now.  As was pointed out in the comments on Sunday, it’s not a terribly huge crime I’ve committed here.  It’s life, it happens.  My intention was actually never to lament, but rather to come clean and then take it from there.  So Sunday I ‘fessed up.  Now, we’ll be moving forward.

After be-smudging my good hippie name, I did make the self-defensive claim that not everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.  There are, actually, plenty of things I’ve kept up with and am doing now that are mighty green.

Today, lemme brag on those! 

I love the earth, I am a legit hippie.  There are easy, fun, money-saving ways to run a home and live your life that are kinder to the earth than some of the typical American practices.  Especially when it comes to chores, I love to keep a tidy home in crunchy fashion – using hippie cleaning methods.

duck face all in the rubber gloves, after a crazy night of chores – i was sweating so hard from cleaning!

For one, rags – not paper towels.

rags are reusable and that’s rad

Paper towels are pricey.  And they’re wasteful.  Landfills are clogged with paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins.  If I must buy some kind of paper product (that’s a disposable version of something that totally exists in reusable form), I at least go for the recycled materials version.  Depending on what the use of the paper item was, when you’re done with it you may be able to recycle it – so keep that aspect in mind if the paper-made route is one you must go.

But really, rags love messes.  Rags are the best!  They work better than paper towel, and you just wash them.  It’s nice.  I get so annoyed at the paper towel commercials that equate rags to smearing bacteria all over your home.  UGH.  Common sense goes a real long way.  If you’ve just used a rag to wipe up some raw chicken goo, how abouts you retire that one to the dirty laundry hamper and not rub it on the counter until it’s been properly laundered.

It’s home cleaning 101.  It’s how people have been tidying up for years, centuries!  It’s not rocket science.  I’ll elaborate more on a paper towel based rant some other day, because I feel like I could go on and on about all of the anti-rag marketing and propaganda out there that’s just so bunk.

Use rags.  Wash them. Apply common sense.

You know what really helps the cleaning process?  A solution that’s antibacterial.  Like say, white distilled vinegar (WDV).  WDV is amazing.  It kills germs, it cleans up all kinds of messes, stains, spills, grease, gunk, and more.  Yeah, it smells strong at the time of use – but as it dries it is 100% odorless, colorless, and unnoticeable.

vinegar is heaven’s nectar. it does everything!

I use WDV everywhere.  Dishes, laundry, surfaces, mopping solution, the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room.  Anything that can be cleaned, I involve WDV somehow.

Remember my old Tide Challenge?

our current laundry room set-up. tide + wdv = a cheaper, better way to do every single load!

(I bought a big jug of liquid Tide, very pricey and wonderful smelling laundry detergent – and as an experiment, I diluted it with WDV for every load of laundry to see how far I could stretch a bottle).  Here’s the premise of the challenge, a midway update post, and finally – the results post.

Check those out to read all about the magical laundry powers of WDV.  Detergent, microbe killer, disinfectant, funk eliminator, fabric softener… it does it all.  And in its wake it leaves clean-smelling, lovely, soft clothes.

Speaking of reusable rags and WDV, let’s talk about mopping.

If you so much as own a Swiffer, I don’t even know if we can be friends.  Swiffers are so so so so bad.  They’re evil!  They create so much waste, and why?  For what?  It’s lazy and ridic.  You can get a mop with the exact same function as a Swiffer (the spray with the little pad on a stick that you use instead of the old school rope mop or the sponge and squeegee kind) that – get this – uses a reusable pad on the bottom.

Instead of those pre-soaked Swiffer pads that cost a fortune, are chock full of chemicals, clog up your garbage can, and eventually our whole planent with all of those dirty pads – just use a mop with a washing fluid chamber that squirts out a little stream of cleaner and houses a cloth pad on the bottom that you simply wash and reuse.

I used to have a Lipman spray mop back in Hawaii, with reusable cloth pads.  I liked it just fine. When we arrived in Western New York, I needed a new mop, though. (The Lipman worked just fine, it was packed up and it’s in the Pacific Ocean on a ship somewhere, with the rest of our belongings).

me, going nuts, with my awesome new mop

Totally coincidental to my viewership of Celebrity Apprentice (really, I didn’t realize it was the same mop from the show until just now as I was looking it up online and saw Lou Ferrigno pics), I am now the proud and ecstatic owner of the O-Ceder ProMist spray mop.

i love celeb apprentice, but did not love lou. he was actually super annoying. but, he’s repping my new mop, so i gotta give him credit for that. i love this mop!

It caught my eye because it was the cheapest one of its kind in the store.  And boy oh boy am I so glad I took this baby home!

There’s a microfiber pad that easily sticks to the bottom, I bought a secondary pad for a few dollars – so if one’s in the wash, I can still mop it up.   And in the RARE case that a mess deems you must mop with something disposable, they do sell paper pads that fit as well (but don’t do that, just wash the reusable ones).

I LOVE THIS MOP!

best mop ever

It’s great.  It’s so sturdy, the head pivots so nicely.  It’s incredibly easy to use, and it’s so eco-friendly.  I fill up the cleaning fluid tank with a simple mix of WDV and water.  WDV is the perfect mopping solution, you know.  It kills the germs, it cleans, the floor will sparkle and shine – withOUT the stick left behind from Lysol or whatever other chemical mopping stuff you use.  And yes, it smells wacky… but as soon as it dries there is no scent.  None!

look at the shine on that floor – nice!

machine washable. very very easy.

Okay, I think you get my point about the cleaning.  It’s so easy to do, y’all.  Being green is not hard, it’s not always expensive or scary.  I know that when you’re in the grocery store and you see the free range organic food, it costs more than the hormone-filled antibiotic-ridden regular version.  The monetary commitment to an eco-friendly life can seem daunting. But that’s only for certain types of green living.

For most of the things I do around the home, I actually save money.  

WDV is way cheaper than any fancy cleaning product you can buy.  Samesies with baking soda (another awesome cleaning agent that works miracles).  Buying something once, like a rag or a towel and then being able to re-wash it and use it for a really long time is epically cheaper than going through disposable stuffs.

You get the idea?  I hope.

Now.  I know I mentioned food.  So there’s a couple more things I’ll sling into this post.

We feed our dog fancy food.  As in, organic doggie food.  I don’t believe in making him eat that corn-filled, horse meat, food colored, toxic fake garbage that’s all fillers and no nutrients.  We were so blessed at the ole MCBH Commissary, because they carried Organix brand dog food and it only cost a dollar more than the typical on-the-shelf doggie food crap.

Specialty dog foods can be very pricey and you may have to go out of your way to get your hands on them.  I understand that’s not feasible for everyone.  But check this out… Purina has a new label of food out, and although it’s pricier than the typical bag of Beneful, it’s still very affordable.  No corn, no fillers, no super duper garbage – and it’s made by Purina (my cousin works there, as does my Uncle Bobby, we love Purina around here).

jj’s new food, yummy!

JJ loves it!  He eats it right up, and we’re able to easily find it in the dog food section of our local grocers.   It’s called “One Beyond” and the commercials are super cute too (they always advertise for it on Hulu, I’ve noticed).

And finally.  I know in Sunday’s post I lamented about drinking coffee from the Keurig.  The uber-wasteful single cup coffee dispensary that makes you a solo cup of joe, out of a single disposable plastic-y cup.  Oy, the waste.  So much garbage, so much packaging.  It’s convenient and lovely and delicious – yes.  But the hippie in me just feels like such a heel.

So, I went old school and busted out the regular coffee pot.

i can make coffee the regular way

It’s a lot less wasteful, as long as we drink all that we end up making.  Coffee itself is such a slippery slope of hippiedom anyways… from fair trade, to poor work practices and shady farming, etc.  So I won’t get into that side of the bean in this post.  I’ll just tackle my end, the making and drinking side of the story.  And yes, I’m still imbibing in the Keurig-made stuff (it’s what we have in the house), but I’m not exclusively drinking Keurig and I intend to make my way back to the good ole brewing pot.

So there you have it!

Yeah, I’m not as super duper green green green as I had it when we were in Hawaii.  I’ve slipped a bit, I’ve let some things slide.  I’ve had to make accommodations and adjustments because of moving.

It is what it is.

But I’m turning it around.  And hey!  Even on my worst days, I was still maintaining some very clutch eco-kindly habits.  Some is better than none, every little bit really does help.

So as I continue to get my green groove back, I’ll keep y’all in the loop.  The tips and tricks I learn, I’ll pass on.  Because let’s be real, I didn’t invent this stuff – not by a long shot – other hippies taught me, and thus I want to teach you.  And if you have some good tidbits, tell me!  Shoot me an email or let me know right here (happyhippierose@gmail.com).

I’m always looking to build up my repertoire of hippie living.  So go out, get some WDV and a spray mop and clean with kindness.  Happy Housekeeping, y’all!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that are not my own:
Lou Ferrigno with the mop
O-Cedar ProMist mop collage

Losing My Religion

“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight … losing my religion.”  Great R.E.M. jam, right?  It’s totally how I feel today.

Friends of faith, calm down!  I’m not being literal, or rather – I’m not talking about my spiritual religion, Christianity.  My love of Jesus is as intact as ever.  It’s actually thriving I’d say: going through this huge move with so much uncertainty and loose ends, Duggs and I have been very laid back.  I’ve really been able to just hand the reigns over to God and trust that we’ll be fine, it’ll all work out in His time, and that He has my back.  He always does, so why worry now?

love this!

Of course, we’re doing all we can to work hard and set ourselves up for success – but fretting over things out of our control?  Not happening.  We’ve had faith and it’s been very comforting.

What I’m referring to is my religion of eco-friendliness.

Practicing my beliefs through the way I run a home, the purchases I make, the products I choose to surround myself with, put into the environment and my body… I’ve lost that “religion” big time.

I’ve been SO BAD.

Drive-throughs, food dye, nitrates, preservatives… you name it, I’ve been eating it this past month+. I’ve had more take out and delivery than you’d even think humanly possible.  My first week in New York I ate at Dunkin Donuts literally every single day.  (There aren’t any DDs in Hawaii, and I was dying for jelly donuts and pumpernickel bagels like woah).

be still my beating heart

It gets worse…  Much worse.

Hi. My name is Rose, and I’ve shopped at Walmart recently.

(Hi Rose).

Yeah, I need a Walmart Anonymous meeting or something to help me cope.

i’ve been here, and i’ve spent money. oy.

I’m downright ASHAMED that I’ve supported the giant corporation that I’ve been a sworn enemy of for years.  I mean, I belong to an anti-Walmart watchdog group that keeps tabs on all of the pollution-causing antics, third world sweatshop supporting practices and employee rights-squashing shenanigans that the big blue box condones (and usually tries to hide with price roll back smoke and mirrors).

what do all these products have in common? check the brand. sigh.

It still gets WORSE.

I’ve used paper towels.  Lots of them.

the devil’s mess vessel

(I’m basically in tears at this point.  Who am I? Where has the real Rose gone?).

I’ve drank coffee made in a Keurig.  Oh how I swore I never would.  But I did. In multiple homes on multiple occasions… and I liked it.  It’s delicious.  I even bought more K-cups to refill the ones I willfully consumed.

the set-up here at nick’s. it’s sinfully wasteful… and yet sinfully delicious.

look out landfills, mama’s thirsty!

And if we’re getting really honest – which we are, I’m confessing to quite a lot of eco-sins here – I’ve also used some chemically crazy cleaning agents.  A little bleach here, a little neon colored scented spray there.  SIGH.

oh the shame. i should have to turn in my friendship bracelets and bandanna. am i even a hippie anymore?

I mean, I have excuses – sure.  I’ve been a guest in the homes of others.  I’m trying to be polite and keep things simple.  I’m living out of suitcases (essentially), and for a while we were technically homeless.  Going with the flow, not making waves, and so on… but you know what they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I know I’m being hard on myself.  But there’s a certain level of conscientious living that I’ve strived for and I feel like I’ve just totally ignored all of my earthly beliefs lately.

Really though, there is some adjustment period to be expected.  I didn’t pack rags with us like I had intended to (I was so ill the day the movers came to our house in Hawaii, so many of my plans for what was to get packed/shipped and what was to come with us for immediate access went totally out the window – I’m lucky to have underwear and socks with me, it was that crazy, I was that ill).

So I’ve been bad and I know it. 

Duggs and I went more than a year with only buying a single roll of paper towels for our home (for doggie pee when we were dog sitting and other such “emergencies”).  We use cloth napkins, rags, and towels.

I had actually kicked my coffee habit to the curb and was drinking tea, usually only one caffeinated tea a day – the others decaf, herbal, etc.  And even if/when we made coffee, it was with a regular pot.  Many of my (dear beloved) pals have gone Keurig, and while the idea of making one cup at a time seems convenient and nice, the waste just seems inexcusable.  All that packaging! Ugh.  (And I know there’s the “my K-cup” thingy that’s reusable, but still… who uses those? It’s way more fun and easy to just buy the regular disposable K-cups).

And Walmart? Ha! I haven’t been in a walmart in years.  Actually, Duggs and I made ONE purchase there the entire time I lived in Hawaii.  And before that, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been in one.

I like to practice what I preach.   I sure try to anyways.  We all slip up, yes.  I know I’m not perfect, but I try and that’s been something I define myself by, a source of pride.

As an American I know I have power in my vote, sure.  But we all have a power that seems to carry even more impact: consumer power.  Where we spend our hard earned money speaks volumes.  By not buying products I consider wasteful or harmful, by not shopping at stores whose practices I’m not down with – I vote with my money.

I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in recent years. It seems like every year since ’07, my resolution has been “to be greener,” and every year I’ve made imporvements.

Buying and eating better food to not support farming practices I don’t agree with (factory farming is downright evil) and to be kinder to my body is one that I’ve worked on for years.  The amount of waste reduction in our home has been impressive.  Using less and less “disposable” items and more reusable stuffs – it’s better for the earth and it’s better for our pocketbooks.

Do you know how pricey paper towels and paper napkins are?  That junk adds up! Back in Hawaii, I cut up one old towel and made like 15 rags.  They work better than paper towels and you just wash ’em and voila, good to go.  Cloth napkins are nice too, they’re softer on your skin and again, save money, waste less, so on.  Making our own cleaning products is WAY better for the environment and much, much cheaper.  Those fancy products add up; but white distilled vinegar?  Blessedly affordable.

oh wdv, our love affair will never ever end!

My crunchy habits do save us money, which is great.

But more than that, I’ve been able to live a lifestyle I’m proud of, one that allows me to live out my beliefs.  

So without those habits I feel like I’m being untrue to my heart.  I’ve had that R.E.M. song stuck in my head for days, and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  My eco-religion is a little lost right now.

I’m not all evil these days, though.  I’m slowly getting back into my green hippie groove.   The jostle of moving and being on the road, going from place to place was unstable.  But now that we’re here at Nick’s and settled in, I’ve been getting back into a greener routine.  I know it won’t be long before I’m up to my old hippie tricks and living at a level that’s reasonable and good.

It’s just the lapse that happened during the in-between for which I feel guilty.

I had to confess, get it off my chest.  But that’s it, I’m wiping the slate clean and moving on.  While I’m not pleased with some of the wasteful ways I’ve taken up lately, and the whole Wamart thing (*shudders*) … I’m not going to beat myself up too much.  What’s the point?

I’ve recognized the problem, and that’s always the first step.  So now, it’s about moving on and regaining my crunchy cred.  I’ll post soon (tomorrow maybe?) about the greenie ways I’m getting back and the hippie practices I’ve never lost sight of.  There are so many little, easy ways to keep an eco-friendly home, save money and be nice to ourselves and our animals (chemicals kill, yo).

And at some point I should post about all the crunchy hippie habits of mine that save money.  You’d be amazed at how my gentle ways also go so easy on the wallet.  But that’ll be a long post, and I’ll need to think of all the things I do – I don’t want to leave anything out.

For today though, the confession feels nice.  It’s off my chest – so thanks for letting me do that.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that aren’t mine:
Trust God image (it’s actually a teeshirt you can order, rad!)
Dunkin Donuts pic
Walmart storefront pic

Whew. What An Amazing Weekend – Women Of Hope Retreat 2012

I spent this past weekend on the North Shore with 140 of God’s LOVEliest women at my church’s 2012 women’s retreat!

the women of hope

I’m fired up, filled to overflowing, loved, happy, encouraged, humbled, grateful, and … exhausted!  Hence, this post isn’t the actual rundown post.  No, this weekend was so full of post-able pieces of wisdom, insights, joy, fun, photos, and good ideas it’s going to take me a hot minute to compile it all together.  I think I’ll actually make a few posts.

I was so honored to be on the ministry team, working at the event.  I was in charge of the tie dye event and I came up with/led some ice breakers.  I want to post about the group bonding games we did in hopes that others could take the ideas and use them for their own events (Annmarie and I co-led the ice breakers and we are oh so clever, we invented our own games for the ladies to play!!).

The ministry was amazing.  We had devotionals, testimonies, teachings, praise and worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Eight women were baptized in the ocean! EIGHT! Countless women had their faith renewed, re-ignited; sins were purged, the enemy was attacked, others were forgiven.

ocean baptism - amen!

The theme of retreat was LOVE.  We are Lovely, Overcoming, Victorious, and Eternal.

I learned so much, I just feel so pumped up.  I’ve been falling off in my obedience and commitment to God, and this weekend really gave me a chance to dig in and reconnect.  I was able to lay a lot of my own junk down and serve my God, happily.

So, there is MUCH to share, much to say and much to show.  Just give me a few days to collect my thoughts (and notes – I used like seven different notebooks, so everything is all scattered and out of order)… and a series of posts will ensue!

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

If you have any requests of stuff you’d like me to talk about, lemme know.

Oh, and the location!  The location was epic.  Camp Mokule’ia is peaceful and amazing.  The new direction of the facility is to live and run the operations of the camp in a way that is most kind to the land it’s on.  Sustainable living is totally promoted with a new gray water system, aquaponics, composting, gardening, and beefed up recycling.  A hippie like me couldn’t be more excited, especially because Camp management bases all of their green-inspired efforts in Scripture!  I’ll be interviewing the owner of the Camp and giving a full explanation of all their new eco-friendly installations, what the impact has been like, the theological inspiration for the efforts, and how camped have been responding.  So rad, right!?!?

I’m excited to get cracking.  Love to all of my sisters – thank you for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

12 things everybody ought to know about artificial food coloring, a guestpost by rebecca from die, food dye!

Today I am so honored and excited to introduce everyone to a lovely and talented guest blogger:  Rebecca from Die, Food Dye! has so graciously written up this super helpful, informative list about food dyes and additives, providing us all with info that is so needed to know.  And just in time for the holidays, she’s suggested some places where dye-free gifts may be purchased. 

So please give a warm, happyhippierose welcome to Rebecca and today’s post:

….

12 Things Everybody Ought To Know About Artificial Food Coloring

Food coloring tested on animals has shown some scary results, and yet the FDA continues to approve their use in foods, drinks, medications, and personal care products.  It should be the other way around – instead of approving chemicals until they are proven unsafe, the FDA should protect our food system from additives until these chemicals are proven safe.

Hind sight is 20/20 for sure – Since we discovered our daughter’s food coloring sensitivity (and mine),  I’ve learned so much about food additives and the “Big Food” industry.  Their bottom line seems to be in direct conflict with Americans’ health, especially the most vulnerable among us.  And they’re using us as their guinea pigs.

Next time you go grocery shopping, bring your values with you, and think about this –

  • Artificial food coloring used to be made from coal tar;  Now it’s made of petroleum, propylene glycol (anti-freeze), carcinogenic contaminants such as benzene, and parabens.
  • Food coloring has been linked to mood swings, headaches, rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bed wetting, sleep disturbances, aggression, eczema, cradle cap, ear infections, chromosomal damage, diabetes, obesity, and cancers.  Some scientists believe it has implications in fertility, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.  If you’re a parent, or trying to conceive, avoid food dyes.
  • Not everyone is affected by synthetic food coloring, and not all dyes affect people the same way.  For instance, some people are allergic to red dyes, but blue dyes do not bother them.  Some have a very different reaction to yellows than to reds.  Also, varying combinations of dyes have differing affects on the same person.
  • The affects of food coloring can start minutes or hours after ingestion, and can last for 2-3 days.
  • Petroleum food dyes are found in sports drinks, coffee creamer, marshmallows, canned vegetables, canned fruits, maraschino cherries, spice mixes, toothpaste, mouthwash, jellies, chips, crackers, juice, fruit chewy snacks, cereal snack bars, pastries like Pop Tarts and doughnuts, soft drinks, pudding & sugar-free pudding, gum, condiments, ice cream, yogurt, hot chocolate mix, sausages, farmed fish, pickles, breads, sauces, vitamins, medications, candy, cereals, gelatin, cosmetics, and some crafting kits.  You can check ingredients in cosmetics and personal care items here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep.
  • In the US, synthetic food dyes must be individually listed by name on food labels, and will appear as a color name followed by a number.  Examples are Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Green 3, Blue 1, and Blue 2.  These may be listed in other countries with an “E” followed by a series of numbers.
  • Red and yellow dyes are used in pet foods such as cat treats, chew hides, sausages, “cookies”, “smoothies”, and gourmet pet “candies”.  These do not add any nutritive value to Fluffy’s and Fifi’s diets, and may be causing their hot spots, rashes, paw-biting, vomiting, fatigue, reproductive problems, and loss of appetite.
  • Be aware during special celebrations…Synthetic food coloring is added to some beers (not just on St. Paddy’s day!), liquors in brightly colored cocktails, cake, pie crusts, ice cream, popcicles, baking supplies, candy, chocolates, cookies, sprinkles, chips, lemonade, powdered drink mixes, juices, tea, mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, temporary tattoos, face paints, and spray tans
  • You can make your own natural food coloring.  Some natural sources of dyes are fruits and vegetables, annatto, carmine, beet juice, elderberry juice, chlorophyll, paprika, turmeric, red cabbage, saffron, and hibiscus flowers.  Some people have allergic reactions to annatto and carmine, so use caution when adding them to your diet.
  • Other countries either use natural food colorings, or place a warning about hyperactivity on the front of synthetically-dyed product labels.  In fact, some large American companies already sell dye-free versions of popular products in other countries.
  • You can order naturally-colored holiday candies such as candy canes, caramels, chocolate assortments, and lollipops at www.NaturalCandyStore.com and www.IndieCandy.com.  These two retailers are having daily holiday specials right now, are active on Twitter and Facebook, and can usually ship to the US by the holiday if you order by this weekend (check their sites for specifics).  You can also find plenty of dye-free seasonal goodies at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

I envision a day when healthy foods will be the “norm”, and cheaper than processed “food.”  A small shift in consumer preference is enough to make big food manufacturers take notice.  Send tweets to manufacturers asking them when they’ll ditch the dyes.  Share this information with friends, doctors, parents, grandparents, teachers, restauranteurs, school officials, store owners, and lawmakers.  Vote with your dollars…and let your voice be heard!

For more information, check out studies referenced by the Feingold Association  (www.feingold.org) and the Center For Science In The Public Interest (www.cspinet.org).  For help adjusting to life without food coloring, visit my blog at www.DieFoodDye.com.  Follow @DieFoodDye on Twitter, and interact with other dye-sensitive folks on the DFD Facebook fan page.

…..

Thank you so much, Rebecca!!  There is always so much to learn, it’s great to get these applicable tips to help sort out the action plan.  It’s easy to know about wanting to do something, but hard to know where and how to start.   Now, I feel so motivated to keep fighting the good fight against dye.  

Do you react to food dye? How? Leave me a comment to discuss! I personally have a strong reaction to artificial dyes, Red 40 being the worst of the worst.  This is an issue that gets me so heated up, so quick! 

Please, check out a couple other great ones from Rebecca’s blog… 

As always, thanks for reading!  I’ll be back tomorrow with some super easy DIY crafts/decor ideas.  xoxo, hhr

my tide challenge is DONE!

I finished my TIDE CHALLENGE – The whole bottle is all used up.

all done!

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Check these out:

Drumroll please…. 207!  I got Two Hundred Seven uses out of a Sixty-Four load bottle. That’s not too shabby!

count 'em up ladies and gents!

no seriously, count em if you got em

My goal was to get three times the loads out of the bottle, which would have been 192.
So I beat it!  I’m so pleased to know that not only did I milk three times the load amount out of my super pricey, albeit pleasantly aromatic, Tide bottle – but I only did 207 loads of laundry in over a year!
Considering I do the tie dye business at home and wash, and re-wash and RE-wash all those clothes, that’s pretty good!  Granted, we don’t have kids… but still!  I wear lots of clothes.  I do a few costume changes a day, sometimes (workout clothes, hausfrau get-up, jammies, etc).
So there we go.  A new bottle of Tide was purchased, and the Sharpie Marker in the laundry room was retired (I’m not going to keep track for another year).   And I’m happily satisfied with what I’ve done here.  I’m going greener, a little bit at a time.  I followed through with a project that took longer than a year to complete.  And best of all – I’ve turned so many people on to adding a lil’ WDV to the ole detergent!

sunrise hike: makapu’u point lighthouse

A week ago on April 30th, a group of gal pals gave me insane pleasure by accompanying me on greeting the sun at the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse.   On the east side of O’ahu, this hike juts out into the Pacific Ocean and gives an incredible panoramic view of the sunrise.

The “hike” itself is actually a paved, albeit steep, trail that zig zags up the ridge and peaks at a fenced-off ledge near the lighthouse.  Actually accessing the lighthouse isn’t possible.   Not only is the walk deceptively steep, but there’s no shelter or shade for most of the path.   Carly and I made the mistake of checking it out at noon one day, and we just fried.  So not only does early early morning offer a spectacle of seeing the sun come up over the waves, it’s more comfy too.   During whale season, the Makapu’u Point trail is known for whale watching, so rad!

Here are the pics:

hiking and yoga, pillbox in lanikai

Friday, April 29th, 2011 – Lanikai, O’ahu, Hawai’i – PILLBOX HIKE

warrior pose to the pacific ocean. so awesome.

Climbing and Stretching 

Carlita, Sydney and I had a super fun morning about a week ago.  We hiked the Pillbox trail overlooking Lanikai Beach and when we got to the first “pillbox,” Sydney, a new graduate from Gaia Flow Yoga in Dallas, led us in a nice yoga flow (concrete lookout buildings line this ridge and their small, white, stature have earned the trail the nickname “pillbox”).

Carly and I have been on this awesome tourist mission to stay busy while our husbands are deployed by seeing as much of the island as we can: hiking, snorkeling, swimming and exploring.   Now our friend Sydney (whose fiance is deployed with Carly’s husband) has just moved to the aina and she’s eager to explore and sight-see too.   The three of us make a great team with our easy-going personalties happily meshing.

By the way, if you’ve ever been curious to know more about these gal pals of mine that I make mention of so frequently, check out their blogs!

Back to actually talking about the Pillbox Yoga day:  We didn’t really wake up too early for this one.  We did it a little bit after the sun came up, maybe around eight in the morning or so.  The hike itself is pretty light, but still fun!   We packed our yoga mats in our backpacks so we could use our hands for the steeper parts of the hike (or just to be handsfree, because handsfree is the best).

me, getting out of the car*

sydney and carly at the trailhead

it is a little steep at the get-go

Luckily the trail wasn’t very crowded at all.  We saw a couple random people, but we didn’t have to compete for space or anything.   This hike is pretty popular for the people who live nearby- lots of folks run up the trail or walk their dogs here.  So we totally lucked out in regards to it being sparsely populated that day.  The weather was really mild as well, so being out in the morning sun felt nice, not too hot.  The whole tone was just so right.

the lanikai islands in the early morning light

super close up of me, the girls in the background climbing higher and higher

some cute friends we met on the path. if we weren't doing yoga i would have brought my pooch. aww man!

it's so amazing that we live here. like, woah!

i ❤ hawaii. this place is so beautiful.

i love the yoga mats, tie dye, waterbottles, awesome scenery... this is just soooo "us"

Once we got to the “pillbox,” we literally hoisted ourselves up there and set up shop.  I don’t think I’d ever done outdoor yoga before.  It was really fun, but there are some weird little things you don’t think about it until you go through it.  The surface we were on was flat-ish.  It had lots of slopes and divits, and it was hard to find a nice even spot to put out a mat on.  And because of the nature of yoga, if you aren’t on a flat surface – you gotta be careful not to hurt yourself.  Luckily we’re all super-not-clumsy and we were, of course, extremely safety-oriented and cautious.

Being so exposed and by the ocean, it was windy up there; we were using everything we could to hold down out mats.  And even then they tried to fly away from us a couple times.  Don’t worry- we were super fast and suffered no loss of equipment.

I’m joking about the little bumps that came up… but really, outdoor yoga is awesome.  It’s just so pure and natural and simple.  I want to keep doing it, that’s for sure.

yeah girl, get on up there

oh hay! you too, go up there!

my little backpack is on the top of the world

hi

taking it all in. this world God made for us is just the most perfect artwork.*

me and carly. she's probably sassing me*

don't they look like the two islands?

these two islands!

Sydney is a lovely yoga instructor.  The only real class I’ve been going to this year is the one on base with the same instructor all the time – so it was nice to mix it up and do a flow in a slightly different way (because every instructor is different).

I didn’t get any pics of us actually doing our yoga practice.  I get really focused on those breathes and the poses, and stepping out to snap pics would have killed my zone.  But, afterwards, we did have some fun trying to do different poses and stretching.  And we met a random guy (Jimmy) who was running the trail and he took some pics for us.  So rad!

i don't know the name of the pose sydney's doing, but it looks hard and fancy!

my carly has mad skills

sydney teaching jimmy a new way to stretch

headstand! awesome!

sydney is stronger than she looks, huh? impressive. *

carlita is graceful *

ooh look, i can play too. my wheel. it's getting better, huh? *

being bendy *

yeah, i'm not really close on this one at all. but i'll get there. now i have another goal to work toward! *

messing around and doing the world's worst chair pose. i really am just joking around and being dumb*

We did a couple group shots and Jimmy graciously took them for us.  I like the way they came out.  I know I’m not nearly on the yogi level of Carly or Sydney, but I try and that’s all that matters:

i love everything about this *

being dorky and silly *

After we got down the mountain, we went into Kailua Town and ate at Aloha Salads.  Oh man. I love Aloha Salads.   If/when I leave here, it’s one of the top five eateries I’ll miss the most.  It’s a chain that’s only out here, they serve big salads made of local ingredients.  After being so nice to my body by hiking and stretching, it just feels good to eat something light, simple, and healthy – ya know?

oh yum

aloha!

It was such an awesome morning, a really great way to just re-set my intentions of being good to myself, appreciating my surrounding, and just having fun while being active.

Oh.  The pics with the asterisks are ones I stole from Sydney’s facebook album from this day.  That’s all.  ALOHA!

OH FINE.

HERE.

I may have skipped over one teensy detail in this retelling… I slipped on the way down.  For your viewing pleasure:

graceful as always

Now it’s really the end.

laundry talk: my tide challenge

How exciting is laundry, right?

Some friends turned me on to the concept of using white distilled vinegar to wash clothes.  The idea sounds wacky and gross, but it only took one try to convince me of the amazingness of vinegar.

Its a natural fabric softener.  It disinfects.  My clothes do NOT smell like vinegar, in fact they come out smelling so clean and fresh.

But I must admit.  Even though I know how great vinegar solo works, I’m hooked on my liquid Tide like its crack.  I just love that smell.  So my idea?  Take a teeny bit of Tide, and dilute it with white vinegar for every load.  Voila!  Its the best of both worlds.  I’m stretching the use of my expensive detergent, using a mostly safe, green method to wash my clothes, and I get the smell of Tide with the power of vinegar.

The bottle of Tide I own claims to have 64 loads in it.  Ha!

My Tide Challenge: I’m trying to see how many loads I can squeeze out of a “64 load” bottle by diluting with WDV every time.  Today I ran load #44 and I’m maybe 25% through the bottle (its hard to tell because you can’t see a liquid level through the plastic, so I can only go by weight and looking in the top).

I use a teeny amount of Tide:

add the WDV:

and go!

64 loads? i’m hoping to get at least three times that out of this bottle.  Maybe even more.  Do you realize how much money that saves?  The big old bottle of Tide can cost around $20 here.  And the big bottle of vinegar? Around $2.  Its crazy talk how much money this one little trick is saving us.

I’ll keep everyone posted to see how far I can get!

 

UPDATE UPDATE: I finished the challenge.  Read my post about finishing the bottle of Tide and just how far it went!

drinking water drama

I heard on NPR a story about drinking water here in O’ahu.  And it ain’t good!  Turns out that my tap water is chock full of Chromium-6.  That’s some Erin Brockovich junk right there.   See what I mean:

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/study-cancer-linked-chemical-found-in-honolulu-drinking-water

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/chromium-6-in-honolulus-tap-water

http://hawaiifreepress.com/main/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/3428/Honolulu-is-2-on-Erin-Brockovich-hexavalent-chromium-hit-list.aspx

Well, this comes as bad news to me.  I LOVE tap water.  I hate bottled water because plastic is poisonous, and I hate how much waste comes from the whole ordeal (especially the bottles themselves).

I rely solely on tap water for drinking, cooking, the pooch, everything.  I have one of those BPA-free refillable bottles, and I take that with me everywhere.

So now I gotta figure out a new method of water.   I’m researching filtration systems, and trying to figure out the best way to go.  The pitcher kind?  Attach to the sink kind? I’m not sure yet.

For now I’m experimenting with bottled water.  Its such a drag.

I tried Menehune first, and it was disgusting.  It tasted like plastic and chemicals. EWW.

Now I have a 2.5 gallon thing of Sparkletts in my fridge, as well as some small Arrowhead bottles.  So far, they both taste WAY better than Menehune; they taste fine like normal water.

The whole point of this (other than it being a colossal pain in my ass and an unexpected expenditure to add to my budget ) is that I can’t believe how easily I took for granted having clean, easily accesible, safe water.  I mean, the water that comes out of my kitchen sink is still far safer than what MOST people in the world have access to.

Check this out: http://water.org/

Millions of people are getting sick and dying from not having access to clean water.  Its incredible how something so simple and a regular part of our daily lives is of such epic consequence to most humans. We, as Americans/Westerners/First World Dwellers are so effing lucky. Next time you turn on your faucet, keep in mind a little gratitude.

Using the bottled water has upped my game in conservation and appreciation.  My own situation here on Oahu is small potatoes, and it should be one that’s easily remedied.   But the world-wide water problem is so serious and huge to me, its really overwhelming honestly.  I pray for clean water for everyone.