Homemade Reusable, Recyclable Baggies by my fabulous friend Maren Briggs

Love Life and Lollipops- Reusable, Recycled Baggies

For a long time I boycotted using plastic baggies (I also avoid like the plague tin foil and plastic wrap for various reasons I'm sure you can guess).  But more and more these days I find need for plastic bags: for wet bathing suits and messy snacks and the such.

I have to admit, though I really hate to, plastic bags make life easy in certain situations.  But I've successfully found replacements like my baggu bags for groceries and snack traps for after school fruit type snacks at the playground.

Luckily, my friend Maren Briggs is beyond crafty and supertalented.  She made me some amazing reusable baggies from recycled fabric scraps.  She sews amazing kids clothes for her etsy site with vintage fabrics and with the scraps from that she makes baggies.  How amazing?!?  And totally earth friendly and eco-conscious, I love it!

My bag is filled with her baggies compartmentalizing my life.  It's brilliant!

Bounce!

I can't help but feel like my life is a mini struggle between finding convenience and responsibility. I do my best on a regular basis to make sure that as a family we incorporate safe and sustainable practices, but often at times I know that itís only reasonable that I make some compromises to get through the day without any break downs (on Avi's part or mine ;) ). Let me start by saying that laundry is not my forte. As a matter of fact, I kinda dread doing it. That said, being a mom (soon to be of 2), it's entirely unavoidable on a very regular basis! Iím not sure if itís the waiting around, or all the steps in the process, but it just drives me crazy. Anything I can do to make it a little easier, quicker, more efficient, is wholly worth it! I recently had the opportunity to try out the Bounce Dryer Bar and figured while itís not an entirely ìgreenî product, it will certainly save me time, money, and a good amount of paper I use in dryer sheets (we do a lot of laundry in this house). I have to say that itís been a breeze to use. Itís super nice not to have to think about something (even as minor as throwing in a dryer sheetÖ as Iíve been known to forget from time to time and plague our home with wildly annoying static). Between chasing Avital and this pregnancy, itís been hard enough keeping up with daily chores, let along making sure the house is stocked with all the necessary cleaning materials, paper products, etc. One less thing on my weekly shopping list is a major plus! I chose the unscented version since Avi and Richie are so sensitive, and itís been working great. Iíd totally buy another (though I won't have to for another 3 months apparently, which is another serious added benefit). Our clothing is just as fresh and soft as it was with the dryer sheets I was using, so Iím a happy camper.

You can win a Bounce Dryer Bar and a $50 Visa Gift Card from BlogHer and Bounce by answering the following questions: Do any of you use the Bounce Dryer Bar or anything similar? Any ideas how I can incorporate other easy ways to cut back in my house? I'd love to hear!

For more info on Bounce Dryer Bars you can check out some videos or you can check out their Facebook page for FAQ's and other goodies.

Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. Good Luck Everybody!

Oh and the last day to enter the giveaway is Tuesday 12/6 at 5p

Nature and Art: A Fabulous Combination

I found this video through an awesome blog: Black Eiffel that I read every so often for design inspiration.  I fell in love with this clip and wanted to share.  It reminds me how special this world is and how worth it it is to protect it!  It also reminds me how much more of this world I have to see.  Travel plans in the works?!?  Richie always talks about traveling the Pacific Northwest! Take a look:

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

miYim Organic Baby Toys

miYim organic toys My sister-in-law is about to have twins supersoon and it got me thinking about what to bring to the hospital for them when they're born.  We've already bought her some necessity type things for the shower, so I thought a little something cute would be nice for when they arrive.

miYim is an earth-friendly company that makes baby toys that are organic, chemical-free, and totally safe.  Their toys are simple and fun intending to inspire imagination play.  Avi had a ton of them when she was a baby.  They make great gifts!

I love bringing something totally pure as a gift for a newborn.  It makes me feel that maybe if we can influence this next generation from day one to live sustainably and responsibly, we can move into a brighter future:)

Here are some favorites:

Chicken Rattle miYim Fairytale Plush HippoOrganic Good Earth FairyOrganic Strawberry Stroller Toy

Babycakes in My Brooklyn Bed AND at Disney!

Love Life and Lollipops- Babycakes Vegan Goodies

These treats from Babycakes were amazing and totally vegan.

I've mentioned Babycakes Bakery in passing here and here.  Babycakes is a refined sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, casein-free, egg-free, vegan, kosher bakery.  And it's damn good!

Every time we're out to dinner in downtown Manhattan I make Richie do a drive by on the way home for some post dinner goodies (thank goodness they're open late!).   This was exactly the case this past Saturday.  Avi and I picked out a box full of doughnuts and cake balls and hamentashen (for the bargain price of $20ish) and brought it home, straight into bed with pj's, and grubbed  (see above).

But that's not the only exciting Babycakes news I've got for you all!  I recently found out that Babycakes opened in Downtown Disney!  Read about it here straight from the horses mouth.  Or here from PETA.  In an effort to bring healthier options to Disney, Babycakes was one of the new additions!  And even better: in the place of McDonald's!  Yup they got the boot.  The world is making real strides when Disney World offers vegan cupcakes.  Yay!

Babycakes vegan goodies at Disney World.

Holton Farms CSA in my building!!!

Holton Farms provides CSA's for many nyc locations. Holton farms CSA bring local, fresh produce and other goods to nyc residents.

A while back, my friend Bret wrote us a guest post on produce, CSA's (community supported agriculture), and Holton Farms (here).  Since then (maybe even before then) I've been totally into finding a local CSA to get me some superfresh and local produce on a weekly basis.  I researched a bunch of programs, but between moving so much and all the schlepping of Avi that I do, I couldn't imagine adding a weekly errand of picking up a box at some local church or community center and figuring out how to get it home.

Lucky me: my amazing new apartment building here in superfab and totallyliberal Brooklyn is offering itself up as a stop for Holton Farms' CSA!!!  Of course upon finding out I immediately signed up and am superpsyched for my first delivery (though I'm not exactly sure when it'll come).

I'm pretty sure anyone in the hood can sign up, just go to www.holtonfarms.com and follow the instructions, pay by paypal, and kabaam you're eco-friendly and totally healthy (ps- there are a LOT of other locations all around NYC, so there may be one near your apartment if you're not Brooklyn local).

For the rest of you, (and me) hitting up the farmer's market this weekend is a super idea!  I think I'll cruise by McCarren Park with Avi and Richie this weekend and make Richie carry home all my goodies!

Guest Post: Liza Chrust

Fun Baking Tools I know I usually post about a recipe, but I thought this time I'd share with you  the fun baking tools I have.  These are by no means absolute, must have, I can't make a cake without them, but they sure are fun to have in the kitchen and make baking a little easier and eco friendly in some cases!

My first tool is the offset icing spatula:

Liza uses this offset spatula to make all her amazing vegan cakes!

This is great for evenly distributing icing all over and throughout the cake.  I used to use a regular butter knife before this and I cannot tell you how much this one tool has changed my baking life!  My cakes look much prettier now!

The personalized silicone spatula is not for icing like the offset one, but for mixing.  These are like any other spatula but with two great features!

Liza loves these personalized silicone spatulas for mixing her batters.

One:  They are heat resistant and Two: You can put your name on the handle!  How cool is that.  Mine read "Friedman's Kitchen" (I am getting married soon and that will be my new surname).  These ones have Chuck's Kitchen, but you can really put whatever you like on them.

The last is the Silpat silicone mat:

This silpat is recusable.

These are great for you, the environment, and your cookies!  It is super easy to clean and keep your pans clean too!  It is reusable which is good for the earth and will save you money .  It also make the bottom of your cookies light and crispy!

Enjoy these wonderful, fun baking tools!

A New Age and The World of Topshop

Love Life and Lollipops- Topshop Recycled Paper Shopping Bag

Since Topshop opened in Manhattan Richie and I have been a little obsessed.  The clothing is well priced and totally stylin.  Lots of it is vegan, though not eco-friendly or organic per se, but it is easy on the pocket and the eyes.

Here's what I will say for them, they give discounts for students (awesome) and their shopping bags are made from 10% recycled paper.  It's a great step in the right direction!

I hate hate hate the wastefulness that is shopping bags we all accumulate like crazy.  I do my best to always keep a reusable, foldable shopping bag in my bag for anything extra I pick up in my day, but whenever I forget it, I make it a point to reuse the  bag later.  I always feel a little better knowing that the new-to-me bag has been recycled at least once!

Top shop uses recycled paper shopping bags.

Cloth Napkins by MU Are For Me

Mu Kitchen makes eco-friendly kitchen products. I while back I mentioned my goal to stop using paper towel in an effort to be less wasteful.  Since then we've adopted another earth-friendly habit in our home: cloth napkins.  I realized we created so much waste with paper napkins three times a day every day and wanted to find a solution.  When wandering the aisles of Whole Foods one day with my mom I noticed some supersoft bamboo napkins and decided to take some home and give them a whirl.

Turns out we love them!  They look great at the table, are way softer than paper napkins, last for more than one meal often, and are way way WAY better for our environment.

We bought 12 MU Kitchen napkins in two different shades of green and we'd never go back to paper.  As a matter of fact I get a little salty every time we get delivery and they throw in a stack of napkins!

Any cloth napkins are preferable to paper ones (reduce, reuse, you know the drill), but the ones we purchased are made of bamboo, are biodegradable, sustainable, produced without any pesticides, and dyed with eco-friendly dyes!

Responsible Home

I feel like I'm in a constant struggle between style and responsibility when it comes to decorating my home.  In an ideal world, all the fabrics would be organic and the wood would all be reclaimed.  Unfortunately, in that ideal world, I'd also probably be selling my apartment because I'd have spent way over budget on the interiors! I do my best to be as clean and eco-conscious as much of the time as possible, but too often the pieces that are responsibly manufactured are way out of price range for fledging families like ours.

I spent a good amount of time looking for organic sheets for Avi's bed (we already have some for ours from The Company Store) and towels for our bathroom and was having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted in the right colors.

I wound up buying Avital some sheets from Amy Butler's collection for Bed Bath and Beyond that were perfectly bright and flowery for a little girls room and perfectly priced within our buget!

What do you think?:

I love that these sheets are bright and fun and organic!

And I found these awesome purple towels at Pottery Barn.  And they were on sale!  They have a whole Organic Bath section on their site!

These Pottery Barn towels are organic and high quality.

I feel like these were right under my nose.  Nonetheless, I'm so much happier to have stayed in a reasonable price range AND remained earth-friendly!