Repurposing Goes Classy in UpCycled Style

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Candi Karsjens is an ecopreneur in every sense of the word. She is an environmentalist, who repurposes and upcycles other people’s cast-off bottles into gorgeous glasses, bowls, vases, and more, giving each one an entirely new for years to come. She also creates candles and creams free of toxic chemicals and even pours candles into her upcycled glass holders. Karsjens has two built-from-the-ground-up small businesses she’s now combining into one: Aromatic Infusions/Upcycled Style.

Next weekend, Candi’s products will make their first appearance at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to meet the designer and see her full range of cool products….

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Love Those Fruits and Veggies – When They’re Safe to Eat

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Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.

Or not.

Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

When I first read EWG’s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale….

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Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner Does It Right

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When Earth Friendly Products makes the claim that they’re eco-friendly, they have the credentials to prove it. This family-owned business makes and sells super-effective cleaning products, including Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-around cleaners available — and that includes both natural and toxic cleaners. I love how well it cleans, what it’s made of, and even how it smells. I can’t say all that about many other cleaners — can you?

Like pretty much everyone we know, Joe and I are busy people. Sometimes we don’t get around to doing all the cleaning tasks on our list as quickly as we’d like. Recently, we let our upstairs tub and shower go just a little too long between cleanings. When we were sprucing up the house for a family party, we kicked into gear for a quick spritz around the house before everyone arrived. I got ready to tackle our upstairs bathroom. Oh, boy.

To say that the white walls of the tub and shower enclosure were looking a little gray might actually be an understatement, but let’s just leave it at that. I grabbed the bottle of Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner and started spraying about a three-foot-square section of a shower wall. Then I turned my attention to the sink while that part was soaking….

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An April Breeze and a Soothing Candle

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I had already mistaken this abnormally hot April day for summer. After lighting a Linnea’s Lights candle, I could swear it is mid-July.

The Linden candle smells crisp and fresh, complementing the breeze coming from my open window on this beautiful night. It adds a light, unobtrusive scent to my bedroom. Plus, it’s handmade of natural soy wax with two lead-free, cotton wicks, and packaged in recycled materials.

Soy candles are clean burning, meaning they don’t produce black soot like traditional paraffin candles — something both my landlord and I can agree on. Paraffin is made from petroleum; burning a paraffin (wax) candle releases eleven known toxins into the air that contribute to global warming. An added cost-saving benefit is that soy burns longer than paraffin wax. My Linnea’s Light’s candle boasts “60 hours of illumination.”

The soy wax used in Linnea’s Lights candles is completely natural and free of any genetically modified materials, herbicides, or pesticides. It’s also biodegradable. The lower melting point of soy is what allows it to burn longer than conventional candles. Conventional candles also leave a pool of wax at the bottom of the container, whereas soy candles burn completely. Plus, soybeans are grown in the United States, supporting our local farmers….

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“This Product Is Made from GARBAGE”

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At first glance, the title of this post might seem like a slam against an inferior product. That’s not the case at all. In fact, the title comes directly from a product insert I received with two sample items from XS Project.

When a representative for XSProject first contacted me, I was intrigued with the description of how their products are made — and why. The email I received said, “Don’t be surprised if you soon spy some hipster with an accessory you can’t take your eyes off of (something that makes you think, ‘Oh, what a piece of garbage’).”

Who could resist finding out more? …

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Product Review – Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Car, Consumer Goods, Events, Front Page, Reviews

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Way back in June, I got an email from someone representing Lucky Earth products. She wanted to send me a sample of Lucky Earth’s Waterless Car Wash. “Sure,” I replied. “I’ll give it a try.” The sample bottle arrived a few days later, along with a packet of two “Super Cool (TM) Microfiber Towels.” By then it was early July. The items sat on a shelf until today. You can probably see where I’m going with this: I’m not a fan of washing my car.

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