6 Tips to Saving on Heating This Winter

Winter Brrr… we’ve been in a freeze here the past few weeks, as in snow from before Christmas still lingers on the ground, a rarity here on the front range of Colorado. Sure, we get plenty of sun, but once darkness falls and the temp drops even further, I find myself asking SoulDaddy all too often how soon we can move to the beach.

The irony is that I used to ski 120 days a year in the cold with never a chill. Now, I get cold just walking the dogs for 30 minutes and find myself hustling home to huddle by the fire.  Continue reading

10 Ways to Think Outside the Proverbial Gift Box

I love the holiday season! That includes scoping out the neighbors’ holiday lights on the way home each evening; listening to holiday music in my office; gathering with friends for our annual HoliDaly party; sitting in the glow of the Christmas tree each night; and introducing K-bear to Santa, There is simply so much to enjoy!

What I don’t enjoy? The commercialism; the onset of Christmas in stores before Halloween candy has been handed out; the endless ads luring us to buy this and spend on that. I enjoy choosing gifts for my friends and family, but I prefer that those gifts that enhance our local community, celebrate local talent, provide to hard-working folks, or upcycle items in some special way, rather than simply put money into the pocket of another large corporation. Continue reading

2012 Soulicious Gift Guide: Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade, Handmade

Source.

Eeek! I’m so excited! When it comes to gifts, I love to seek out the unique, the useful and the fun. I also feel best when I spend my money on products that make the world a little bit better.

So move over Oprah’s Favorite Things! In the Soulicious spirit, I’ve scouted ten gifts for you that are eco-friendly, handmade or fair trade. They are all unique, affordable items you can feel good about giving, and those who receive them will be delighted. It was a tough job, but I’ve tested each and every one, and I hope you love them as much as I do. You might even find yourself buying yourself a special something for yourself, as of course you should! 🙂

Happy gift giving … Fa la la la la, la la la la! Continue reading

Toxic Couches Sit Not-so-Pretty

Today, as I scramble to put the finishing touches on the Soulicious Gift Guide – featuring unique and affordable, eco-friendly, fair trade or handmade items (Hooray!) – I am happy to welcome my friend, Lindsay Dahl with this guest post. Lindsay is the Executive Director of Safer Chemical Healthy Families, and she’s here to explain the results of a new study that show toxic chemicals in 85% of couches. Yikes! Makes you think twice the next time you sit to watch that Parenthood marathon! Welcome, Lindsay.

For most people, the only dangerous thing about your couch is the risk of spending money on a nice piece of furniture, only to have your cat shred it to pieces. But today a startling new peer-reviewed study came out in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that couches across America contain high levels of toxic chemicals. Great coverage of the study can be read on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Continue reading

Dive Right In: The Benefits of Water

Water. It takes up 71% of our earth’s surface. Of that, 96.5% is found in oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, and 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland. Water makes up 55% of an adult woman and 60% of an adult man. It is vital for all known forms of life.

If you’re like me, water is your primary beverage.  But how much of it do each of us really need to drink? And more importantly, with so little percentage of fresh water available and the rise of pollution in the world, how safe is that municipal water from your tap? Continue reading

Understanding Skincare Product Certifications

According to Organic Spa Magazine, there are a growing number of organizations around the world that seek to certify cruelty-free, natural, organic and/or sustainable products and processes. Six of those have labels you will see often here in the U.S., including Demeter, Leaping Bunny, Natural Products Association, NSF, Oregon Tilth and USDA Organic.

As with eggs, these labels can be difficult to understand and keep straight. But better familiarizing yourself with their logos and standards will help you make more informed shopping choices for yourself and your family. Let’s take a closer look.  Continue reading

What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

You hear the words “carbon footprint” tossed around often these days, but what exactly is it and why does it matter? To put it simply, using coal, natural gas or oil for electricity, heat or transportation releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. These daily carbon dioxide emissions make up your carbon footprint.

Too much CO2 from our daily activities hurts the planet’s climate according to many sources, including the Sopris Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Aspen that focuses on preserving ranch land, keeping community intact in the face of changing land-use patterns, and working with Western leaders to develop a region-wide blueprint for livability.

This organization has taken the time to calculate the amount of CO2 used in three basic areas of daily living: (1) Home Energy; (2) Travel and Recreation; and (3) Food, Drink and Work. Comparing the numbers in each of the green, yellow and orange areas illustrates the power of the choices you make every day. Continue reading

Tricks for Healthier Halloween Treats

It’s getting to be that wonderful time of year, when leaves take over lawns, pumpkins fill porches and – at least in my house – cotton ball ghosts decorate the refrigerator. Unfortunately, it also means an influx of Halloween candy coming your way soon.

We don’t eat any alot of candy in our house, though I do keep a stash of dark chocolate on-hand in the freezer at all times. And truth be told, I’ve picked up three bags of Halloween candy already. However, I blame that entirely on (1) a great coupon and (2) the need for M&M’s to bribe encourage a certain stubborn red-head to use the potty.

Hey, whatever works, and work it does. Healthy as I am, I’m not above a morsel of chocolate in return for a wee bit of pee. Yes folks, this is a desperate SoulMomma.

But I digress. Ever since said red-head has entered our lives, I find myself more and more against the huge mass of high fructose corn syrup and other junk/chemicals/additives that accumulate on and near October 31. Just looking at it tempts my thighs to expand and my blood sugar to rise. Not to mention what it does to our kids. Continue reading

On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

A few months ago, I joined a team of moms with LiveWell Colorado, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring healthy eating and active living in Colorado. Although Colorado is often touted as America’s “leanest” state, we are, unfortunately, not immune to the growing health crisis of obesity.

In fact nearly 58 percent of Colorado adults and 25 percent of our children are overweight or obese. And we’re getting worse. LiveWell Colorado was formed to take a leadership role in tackling the complex problem of obesity and realizing the vision of all Coloradans embracing a healthier lifestyle.

The LiveWell Colorado mission is right in line with my healthy living spirit, and I am proud to join a group of local moms who share a common desire to help influence healthier choices across our home state and beyond.

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve posted an article on their site that shares my holistic approach to surgical recovery. I fully credit these steps with getting me back on my feet and hitting the trails, not once, but twice. It’s an amazing journey to look back on and one that has only made me stronger.

On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

Like many active Coloradans, I take every advantage to get outside and play. I have three bikes hanging in our garage: one for the road, one for the mountains and one for cruising with a toddler. On lazy week nights, I let our two dogs walk us around the well-worn paths near our house. On weekends, I look forward to longer family adventures.

At 37, few would guess I’ve endured two major orthopedic surgeries in less than four years. Though both grueling six-to-twelve-month-long recoveries tested me physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve come back – even with a pregnancy tossed in! And you can, too.

Please continue reading the full post over at LiveWell Colorado.

How to Avoid Arsenic in Rice

Sadly, two new reports from Consumer Reports and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show worrisome levels of arsenic in rice and rice product including breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice pasta, rice cakes and crackers.

Yes, this is the same arsenic people have used for centuries to commit murder. Continue reading