Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Gift Giving This Season

December 5, 2011 at 10:05 am , by

’Tis the season for, well, tons of stuff. Department store circulars crowd our mailboxes (and coupon codes flood our e-mail), the new totally-bigger-than-last-year’s TVs jut dangerously out of car trunks, and gift closets overflow with trinkets for the people you didn’t think to buy for anyway, but “shoot!” those neighborly jerks just brought over bottle of your favorite wine.

Ugh. There has to be a way to feel at least a little better about all of this.

I’m into the “going green” lifestyle, and I like to be pretty discerning about what I put in and on my body and around my home (case in point, after moving into my first grown-up New York City apartment this week, my Seventh Generation cleaning products, Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one soap and BPA-free water bottle were among the first things I unpacked). And because I care about how I live, if I’m going to add to my loved ones ever-growing inventory of stuff yet again this December, it would be great to give gifts with at least some earth-friendly redeeming qualities.

The folks at Origins, a beauty line that promotes its natural ingredients, agree, so they teamed up with eco-tastemakers to lend some easy, green ideas we can all try this holiday season. Their first video, with best-selling novelist Emily Giffin and eco-minded event planner April Trigg, offer the coolest green gifts you can give this year, many of which are made from awesome recycled or reclaimed materials. I especially love the salvaged tin ceiling photo frames April found—they’re perfect for your shabby chic sister.

Watch the video below for the rest of her picks (and get her handy where-to-buy-it list here) and head over to with the special code GOODTOGLOW for a surprise at checkout. Want more tips on how to make your holiday a little more green? New videos will arrive each week on Origin’s Facebook page, including eco-chic holiday fashion with designer Vivienne Tam and green holiday decor with interior designer Robin Wilson.

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2011 at 8:52 am , by

86898565_563dab2319_m-1If you want to do more than hug your favorite tree in honor of Earth Day, try at least one of these 10 tips from public health and safety organization NSF International, and turn your Earth Day celebration into an everyday fete.

1. Pack Lighter: An extra 10 pounds of baggage per air traveler requires 350 million more gallons of jet fuel per year.

2. Change colors: Paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate or a dark color if you live in a cold climate to reduce energy consumption.

3. Air-dry: Dry your clothes outdoors. They’ll smell great, and your utility bills will be significantly reduced.

4. Use reusables: Replace disposable home products with reusable ones like rechargeable batteries, washable food storage containers and cloth towels.

5. Buy used, borrow, or rent: Purchase used or recycled products when you can, and if you only need something temporarily, check with friends or neighbors to see if you can borrow or rent it.

Read more

My Water-Powered Alarm Clock Screams Cool

March 23, 2010 at 11:31 am , by

alarm clockMy trusty Blackberry doubled as my alarm clock, and most days this worked out just fine—most days. Occasionally, I subconsciously pressed the “dismiss” button rather than the “snooze” button, which resulted in panic, chaos, mismatched shoes (happened once) and something my friends and I call “hammy face.” (I know you wish I would link “hammy face” to a picture of myself, but we don’t know each other well enough yet—just think puffy and swollen eyes.)

My point is, running late is the opposite of a good time, and a back-up alarm is a great idea—especially if it runs on WATER. That’s right, I said water! I can’t claim to understand how this gadget works, but it does. My Bedol water-powered alarm clock gets my booty out of bed without batteries or a plug. Just fill it up and you’re good to go. Fantastic.

This eco-friendly potenial job saver comes in blue, charcoal, green, pink and purple, and retails for $29. Wake up—this would make a great gift for college grads, people. You snooze, you lose.

Eco-Friendly & Healthy Nonstick Pans

March 10, 2010 at 10:46 am , by

pansI love to cook with my stainless steel All-Clad, but I’ll be honest, at home I mostly use my inexpensive nonstick pans. Why? Because clean-up is SO much easier. But am I damaging my health? Well, maybe.

While nonstick cookware touts an easy way to be healthy and cook with less fat, its biggest draw is that it’s a breeze to clean. But there have been some health concerns surrounding the chemicals used to produce PTFE (the material that gives nonstick it’s properties), such as Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This and other chemicals are being linked to thyroid disease and infertility. Basically, if your traditional nonstick pans aren’t cared for properly, it can be hazardous to your health.

Many companies have responded to this new information by introducing a nonstick ceramic-based surface. They have none of the worrisome chemicals and can outlast traditional nonstick. An added bonus? They’re earth-friendly!

We tried out a bunch of the new ceramic nonstick varieties and found that our favorites were also among the most affordable: (1) Earthpan II Sandflow, $25; (2) Cuisinart Green Gourmet, $50; (3) Todd English GreenPan, $50; (4) Starfrit Alternative Eco-Pan, $34.

Are you in the market for new cookware? If your Teflon pans are all scratched up, you should be—seriously, go toss them right now!