Miracle in a bottle. I mean it.

Where has this product been all my life???  I had tried everything on my beautiful wool carpet but nothing would take the stubborn spots out.  Some stains are even named.  I remember the time our handyman accidentally got the first big smudge on our pristine rug…he felt so badly about it, and I affectionately named the spot after him: “Melvin.”  After much trial and error with natural concoctions, I resorted to some harsh stuff (so against my “green” conscience) as a last resort and still the spots prevailed.  Then, one day, the Folex Carpet Spot Remover bottle caught my eye…it’s a no-frills, nondescript, boring bottle, which to me is like a badge of honor.  People are buying this stuff even though it is completely devoid of sparkly, eye-catching packaging tested in market research panels for efficacy.  It’s old-school.  Another mark in its favor?  I found it at my local Gelson’s – this overpriced grocery store has a limited selection of its favorites, their “tried and trues,” and sometimes they really know what they’re talking about.  So, I gave it a shot.  The directions called for rubbing the product in with my fingers and then blotting with a clean cloth, and instantly the stains were gone!  I really, really hope it’s as non-toxic as it claims to be because I am a believer.


When “catch and release” is not an option

We love animals in our house.  And while we seem to have more room in our hearts for the four-legged, furry variety, we try our best to at least practice tolerance with the ones that fly, buzz, and crawl the wall.  When we encounter a spider or bug we typically catch it quickly in a cup and release it out the door (usually, far away, maybe even in our neighbor’s yard…shhhh!).  When it comes to an army of ants, we have found no reliable way of containing all of them and we just want them gone.  In one of our homes, we even had to resort to keeping all of our sweet or sugary products in the refrigerator because ants had become such a nuisance.  We all know the dangers of pesticides, so I was thrilled when my friend gave me this hot tip for stopping ants in their tracks, safely: fruit and veggie wash!  Simply spray this in the area of concern, and problem solved.  Thank me later 🙂

The thrill of the trade

I am not a fan of wastefulness.  I don’t like wasting food, wasting resources, and I definitely don’t like wasting money.  That’s why it was such a disappointment that the awesome, perfect laptop bag we bought turned out to be too tight of a fit for our equipment.  This pricey, sleek bag became a source of stress as we tried to jam our notebook, cords and folders within.  Not the end of the world, but for a person like me who really dislikes making bad purchasing decisions, it haunted me.  I found another great bag that would fit all our needs, but felt guilty about the other near-perfect bag I spent cash on and wanted to make sure it went to a good home!  The solution?  Investing 5 minutes of my time with my camera and Ebay, I was able to list and sell my smaller bag to someone who would appreciate it and I made more than a few bucks to help cover the cost of the new bag, too 🙂  You don’t have to be a career Ebay seller to do this.  It’s simple and safe, and Ebay walks you through all the details.  If I can do it – you can do it.  So, next time you run across an item that doesn’t live up to your needs, give it a try!

Here are a few tips:

1. Take a few great pictures, showing the item from multiple items.  Multiple photos cost extra money for your listing, but they give buyers confidence that they know what they are buying.

2. Don’t waste money on a bunch of upgrades.  In my opinion, it doesn’t pay off and it takes more of your precious time.

3. Have an idea of the shipping cost of an item.  Some items are so bulky and heavy the cost won’t be attractive to a buyer and it may end up being hassle for you, too.

4. Give a great description, include dimensions, etc.

5. Be HONEST.  If it’s not new, don’t say it is, and if it has a flaw of any sort, declare it.  Karma, people!!

All about the bottom

It’s taken me 2 years of trying various “natural” and “green” products to get to this point…my TOP 3 DIAPERING PRODUCTS!!  Here they are in no particular order:

  • Nature Babycare Diapers – these are the most eco-friendly disposable diapers I have found (that don’t leak, that is!).  They work great and are eco-certified by all sorts of people.
  • Weleda Diaper Cream – this cream is really concentrated, but not at all goopy.  It’s got a delicate scent, plus calendula and a little goes a long way.
  • Bum Boosa Wipes – these have a very good rating on Skin Deep http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/brand/Bum_Boosa_Bamboo_Products/.  They are super soft, very moist, incredibly strong and smell amazing.

A Penny Saved…the truth about pharmaceuticals

My doctor recently prescribed some supplements to “optimize” my health and keep this busy mom on track.  As I picked up my prescription I was shocked at the cost of my vitamins!  I had a few lengthy discussions with my pharmacist that were so enlightening, I wanted to share them with all of you.  Here are some tips to keep your costs down:

1. Call your insurance company and inquire about similar formulations/brands that may  have a lower cost, then call your doctor to see if s/he approves of the different brand/formulation

2. If your supplement has a dual component, ask your doctor if you could purchase the components separately (or even OTC)…It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes the bundling of supplements by a manufacturer can actually cost you more money (a lot more money!!

3. Inquire with your pharmacist about discounts associated with a multi-month supply.  You may be able to save 10-30% or more by ordering 3+ months at once!

After consulting with my insurance provider, pharmacist, and doctor, and applying these strategies I saved nearly 75% of the original cost!

[Note: I am not a health care provider, pharmacist or other health or dietary professional! Please check with your doctor and pharmacist for all questions related to your health.]

face place

Adult acne.  Really?  I never had a problem in my teens, but for some reason after I had my child, as if I already didn’t have enough on my plate, my skin started getting very particular.  The discovery of this homemade, natural toner has been a life-saver.  It’s got all the good stuff from citrus and a couple other ingredients to help calm the angry skin!

Homemade Toner:

2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed citrus juice (orange or grapefruit work well and are gentle)

2 Tablespoons witch hazel

1 Tablespoon alcohol

*Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks


Steal this Deal!

When I started planning a nursery for our baby’s life on the outside, we had four priorities:


1. Peaceful

2. Gender neutral

3. As natural and non-toxic as possible

4. Affordable

The choices out there can be overwhelming, but when attempting to stay within these parameters, it truly seemed like a needle in the haystack search, unless we had an unlimited cash.  Which wasn’t the case.  So, as I always do, I started thinking outside the box and getting creative.  For example, we had an old credenza from our days in Chicago that we’d gotten at a thrift or antique shop for cheap.  It was dark and dingy when we purchased it, but we stripped it, pulled off the hardware and finished it with a natural, non-toxic oil.  With some new hardware it became a perfect changing table/low dresser (see photo).  I then fell in love with pretty much everything from local LA designers at Amenity Home, so we hit up their sample sale and found large pieces of printed fabric for $5.  I had a local seamstress turn a couple of them into pillows and then stretched the largest one over a new art canvas and had a beautiful piece of art for a total of $25 (shown in photo)!   Moral of the story?  Repurpose furniture, shop vintage and sample sales, and get creative… You can do it, I know it!