Green Your Life: jump on in to natural living with this great tool

A few of you have probably been reading this blog since it started, over five years ago. Today I'm hearkening back to my roots a bit, by sharing a powerful resource with you. These are affiliate links, so I thank you for any purchases that you make, and I thank Emily for the review copy of her book! I started this blog because I wanted to have a space to share my own thoughts and research, stuff I didn't want to publish on my now-neglected family blog. In fact, my first Gidget blog was called Gidget Goes Green. I changed the name to a broader title shortly thereafter, but my initial focus of research was definitely on starting to learn about a more natural lifestyle.

My first ever posts were on sunscreen, community supported agriculture, buying organic, simplifying our stuff, and cloth diapers. Eventually, my writings on these topics found a home at Simple Organic/Simple Homemade. When I stopped writing over there, I told you I would bring back some of that material here, because it really is a part of who I am and how I live my life.

Today I get to share with you a helpful eBook for anyone who wants to start digging into green living.

Green Your LIfe: Get Started Today!

Introducing Green Your Life

You guys know I love reading and sharing what books I'm into with you (this month's What I'm Into post is up next!), and when I get to share a book with you by a dear friend, it's a really special feeling-- I feel invested in this book because I walked through the writing process (virtually, of course) with my friend Emily. We're in a pretty tight-knit online writing/mastermind group together and I've watched Emily pour herself, her time and her research into this book.

It's an amazing resource, a one-stop shop for getting started with a greener way of life.

The book is separated into several categories where we can learn to make choices to clean up and lessen our impact:

  • Cleaning
  • Personal Care Products
  • Baby & Child Care
  • Around the House
  • In the Marketplace

At this point in my journey, I'm personally the most excited about the last section. Learning to make better consumer choices, to buy more ethically and sustainably, and buy less period, is something I want to continue to grow in. I'm a strong proponent of "voting with our dollars," and have personally seen how learning to live a little bit simpler can be life-changing.

...Through this process we have found we are much happier and more content with owning less stuff. We are much more selective about the things we buy and allow into our home, and we have learned that chasing after the American Dream does not make us happy or fulfilled and is not the kind of life we want to be living. ~Emily McClements

Emily's quote definitely reflects how David and I feel as well. Going green isn't just about buying the cleaners with green leaf on the label or paying more for all the "green" products out there-- so much of it as a lifestyle is more about knowing where our products come from, how they were made and sometimes just making do with buying less.

Green Your Life really is a great tool for getting started with a more natural lifestyle, but honestly it's super valuable for someone who's been on this journey for five years already, too. And if you are married to someone who's less inclined to go along with the lifestyle choices, it's a great resources for educating your spouse as well, as my friend Krissa's husband can attest to.

GYL Challenge Collage
Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living walks you through making simple changes to your home and lifestyle that can have a big impact on the world around you. 

Plus, as a thank you for purchasing her book, and to give you extra support, encouragement, motivation, and community to help you make changes in your life, Emily is providing a free membership to the Green Your Life Challenge she is running in February, a $14.99 value! 

In just 4 weeks you will:

  • Purge your bathroom cabinet of toxic and harmful personal care products.
  • Choose beauty and personal care products for your family that are safe and effective.
  • Make your own homemade green cleaners.
  • Clean your home with non-toxic cleaners that really work and are safe to use around your family.
  • Begin making simple and easy changes toward more real food and less processed, conventional foods
  • Use more reuseable products and fewer disposable ones around your home.
  • Work to eliminate and remove toxins all around your home.
  • Determine how you and your family can make an impact on the world around you!

Read more about Green Your Life the ebook and the Green Your Life Challenge here.

This post is part of a Blog Hop to celebrate the release of Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco­Friendly Living

Check out what other bloggers are saying about the great new book:

How to smooth out clumps in your mineral mascara

applying mascara Happy Friday, dear readers! Here's an easy-peasy natural beauty trick for your weekend. 

I'm really happy with my mineral mascara. It lasts long and while it's not waterproof, it will withstand the tears that come with chopping onions fairly well (side note: I chop onions a lot. And cry a lot. I've tried every remedy and nothing works for me).

I buy it on Amazon and save a bit of money by getting it every four months through their Subscribe & Save program.

Before I switched to a mineral-based brand, I used to stretch my mascara at least six months, but the mineral version seems to clump up well before my next 4-month shipment arrives. But even at the discounted price, I can't afford (or justify) buying it more often, so I just have to make it work.

how to smooth out mineral mascara

It's been really dry here lately so I'm going to blame the weather. My next mascara isn't slated to arrive until early March and I was already starting to see some clumps this week, so I decided to take action.

putting a dab of coconut oil in mascara

I took my trusty bathroom jar of coconut oil out, scooped a tiny bit out (probably about a 1/32nd of a teaspoon if that measurement exists) with a cotton swab and wiped it into the top of my mascara. I pushed it down with the wand and mixed it up a bit.

I didn't notice it immediately but the next day when I pulled it out, the mascara was indeed significantly smoother. It didn't seem diluted at all either. Win-win!

What's your favorite natural/mineral mascara brand? 

Affiliate link included.

{Birthday Giveaway}: Tropical Traditions and Naturally Fresh

This giveaway is for a jar of delicious coconut oil and some lovely deodorant products! DSC_0043

Tropical Traditions is the premier place to get great quality coconut oil. I've been using this oil for a while now (ever since I went back to cooking after my 1st-trimester hiatus) and have loved it. I've used it in pancakes (and to grease the pan), baking recipes, frying coconut shrimp and more. I used to give it to my daughter by the spoonful for constipation and when she sees it out on the counter and open she'll usually request a bite. :)

You can read all about the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil here, but let me just tell you that coconut oil is a wonderful, healthy addition for the kitchen. Tropical Traditions is a family-owned business using time-honored traditional methods of making their coconut oil. You can find a lot more great info about their coconut oil on the FAQs page.

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I first mentioned Naturally Fresh in my green beauty routine, and was then contacted by them through Twitter to receive and review a few more of their products which I was happy to do! I know the Skin Deep database isn't the end-all for choosing products, but it is my most commonly used tool when I start looking at brands and products. The amazing thing about Naturally Fresh is that all their products listed on the database are rated as zeros!

I think their deodorant works great, smells nice and is non-toxic. Until I feel so motivated as to make my own, which I'd like to try someday, I'll stick with Naturally Fresh. :)

*****

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One lucky reader will win a 32-oz.-jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, along with a Naturally Fresh Deod0rant Crystal and body deodorant spray.

  • Just leave a comment here telling me what you'd like to use the coconut oil for in your kitchen!
  • Get a bonus entry by following me on TwitterFacebook or Tumblr and leaving a comment telling me you follow. :)

Giveaway ends Wednesday, February 16th, at midnight PST. Good luck!

Eco Crafting Interview: Brooke from Pure and Noble

I thought it was high-time I get back to the awesome interviews I promised you. Brooke, from Pure and Noble is all about repurposing and turning old to new, using her handmade skills. Let's learn a little about her eco-crafting philosophies and methods now...

Nicole: What originally got you started in repurposing/eco-crafting?

Brooke: I think my kids, honestly. Ever since I had the overwhelming feeling that I am actually leaving this world to someone I cherish, the things I do day to day matter more.

N: What are some of your favorite textiles/materials for crafting besides mainstream supplies?

B: Things from the outdoors like flowers, leaves, seeds, acorns and the like. I'm hoping to paint some acorns this fall and hang them on our entryway tree.

N: How does eco-crafting fit into your lifestyle/life philosophy?

B: I believe that God has called us to be good stewards of everything He has blessed us with. Whether it's people's hearts, money or other resources, I believe how we steward what we have says a lot about what we believe and living it out.

N: Who are some of your creative influences?

B: My sister and other bloggers. My sister isn't so much creative with "things" but she is very creative with money. She can sniff out a deal from miles away. She's truly made getting a deal an art form. She even haggles with Home Depot and guess what... she usually comes out the winner.

N: What's been your favorite repurposing project?

B: Hmmm... I'd have to say either turning a broken koozie into a fabric stamp or a way too short mini-skirt into a purse.

N: How do you get your kids involved in this sort of thing?

B: They go on nature walks with me sometimes and enjoy painting some as well, but for the most part, they just enjoy the finished product. They would much rather play sports or battle each other with Nerf swords. Oh, and they like counting my buttons and sorting them by shape, size and color while I sew too.

N: Do you have any recommended sources or advice for newbies?

B: Don't let your what you've learned stifle your creativity. Remember when you were a kid and you turned flowers into rings or crowns and blankets into super-hero capes? That is the very creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that needs to be tapped into.

My girlfriend and I went to a flea market the other day and as we were looking through the vintage kitchen items we found an old meat or potato masher. It had a really cool handle on it and I thought it would make a great coat hanger or accessory hanger once screwed onto a wall. I think the fact that I am NOT a cook allowed me to free my mind and find another use for that object.

Thanks, Brooke! You are always inspiring me. I hope someday we can meet in person and go thrifting or garage-sale-ing together!

I hope you, dear readers, have been inspired by Brooke, too. Be sure to visit her blog and her sweet Etsy shop as well.

Trying my hand at homeopathic wellness...

I'm over at Simple Organic today (okay, actually yesterday, but I totally forgot to mention it here), talking about my basic wellness plan for this season. I call myself an amateur, because that's what I am! I'm always learning new home remedies to add to my arsenal. There are some great ideas in the comments, too.  If you're interested in building your immunity naturally, you'll definitely want to check out the links I have in my post, too.

See you over there...

Eco-Crafting Interview Series: Deanna of Recycled Lovelies

I found Recycled Lovlies a little while back when I was really starting to get into repurposing. Deanna never ceases to inspire me with her truly lovely creations. I think you're all going to love reading what she has to say. Deanna 1

GGH: What originally got you started in repurposing/eco-crafting?

Environmental issues is where Recycled Lovelies stemmed from. I found it alarming that only 14% of clothes are recycled or donated and the rest are dumped in landfills. This is harmful for the environment, due to the use of pesticides, fertilizers, bleach and dyes that are used in the production of clothes.

GGH: What are some of your favorite textiles/materials for crafting besides mainstream supplies?

Everything I use is recycled, found at thrift stores or given to me. My favorite textile to work with would be old clothes, making them into something new. A favorite material would be silk, I don't find a lot of it but it makes beautiful flowers for necklaces or corsages.

GGH: How does eco-crafting fit into your lifestyle/life philosophy?

I am very much on the eco-friendly side of things. My family tries to live life simply (buy what you need) and sustainably (paying attention to how it's made and where it's made) and it isn't a hard way to live, it's something you have to wrap your mind around because as Americans we have been taught to buy until you can't buy anymore.

GGH: Who are some of your creative influences?

Lex from Made by Lex inspires me, she doesn't always use recycled items to change up or add to but a lot of the time she does and she has great ideas. I also am always looking at Anthropologie's site to get my creative juices flowing, they have so many things that can be recreated simply.

Deanna 3

GGH: What's been your favorite repurposing project?

The Mexican Wedding dress that I updated. I had lots of people against me changing any part of this dress but it really made it a wearable dress and not one that just sat in my closet looking pretty. {see original to left, and finished, above}

GGH: How do you get your kids involved in this sort of thing?

As we have learned more and more about the environment and how our practices affect the earth, we share that information with our girls. My youngest is constantly asking if something can be recycled or who she can pass clothes down to. We have made them very aware of themselves and that what they do really does matter. They don't mind shopping used or cutting apart old clothes to make into something new. I try to make shopping used an experience, we try to go to the more fun shops such as Buffalo Exchange instead of the boring Goodwill(although we do find stuff there often).

GGH: Do you have any recommended sources or advice for newbies?

Yes! First piece of advice - If there is something you want to make, chances are, someone else has, so get your computer out and start google-ing!

Two sites that I enjoy getting ideas from are...

Adventures in Dressmaking -She shops the goodwill outlet and uses material she finds there for her dresses, one thing to remember - she always uses patterns.

Sew Mama Sew has some great ideas too.

Deanna 2

Another piece of advice would be to just give it a try! Do not underestimate yourself when it comes to sewing or crafting. I hear people all the time say, "I can't sew" or "I am not creative" and the funny thing is most of the time that person is very creative and can do those things they are claiming not to be able to do.  If you have an idea, please just give it a try, you will surprise yourself.

Thanks, Deanna, and I hope all of you were as inspired by this interview as I was!