Recyclable Flip Flops ~ Okabashi Sandals Review

Okabashi Sandals

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Recyclable Flip Flops – We’re always on the lookout for on trend, eco-friendly shoes.

When they are made in the USA and from recyclable materials, that’s even better.

More than 98% of shoes sold in the US are not made in America.

Okabashi is in that exclusive and elusive 2%.

They make shoes that are fashionable and comfortable.

Recyclable flip flops?

Who knew that was possible?

Okabashi sandals review

I own three pairs of Okabashi shoes.

They have arch support and are designed to properly align your feet.

They are made from a recyclable blend of plastics which make the shoes sturdy yet soft.

After wearing all of these sandals multiple times for hours each time, I was happily surprised to find they were all comfortable, flexible and had a lot of “give.”

At the same time, they were very supportive.

Also, given their material, they won’t stretch out.

Each shoe has raised bumps on the foot bed.

I didn’t know what these were for until I read about it online.

They are there as massaging beads to promote better circulation based on Reflexology principles.

Okabashi Sandals
Okabashi Sandals

Okabashi recyclable flip flops and sandals review

You can buy Okabashi through their Amazon store.

Recyclable flip flops

For most of my life, I didn’t wear flip flops because normally flip flops have inadequate arch support.

My arches are high, so they hurt my feet.

These Okabashi sandals have some of the best arch support I’ve found in a flip flop.

They’re incredibly comfortable.

They’re also much more durable than your average flip flop so you don’t have to worry about them falling apart in the middle of your vacation.

They match most of my clothes, so they are great for when I’m packing light.

They are surprisingly inexpensive for the quality as well.

Okabashi Sandals Made in the USA

Okabashis are made in Buford, Georgia.

For most shoes you see in the store, one of the biggest environmental impacts comes from shipping them from a factory overseas into the country where you buy them.

However, “the average Okabashi shoe travels only 7% as far as the average imported shoe,” which means a much smaller environmental impact.

You can shop for these shoes with a clean conscience.

You are supporting the USA and its people when you shop for made in America products.

Even more, these shoes are vegan.

Okabashi recyclables shoes

One of the coolest things about Okabashi is their shoe recycling program.

When your shoes get old, you can send them back to the company where they’ll be ground up and blended into the mixture for a new pair of shoes.

According to the Okabashi website, last year they re-ground and re-introduced 100,000 lbs of scrap material that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.

Their products contain about 25% of their own recycled material.

This program is all about reusing and repurposing, and we love it!

Best travel sandals

We love these because they are lightweight and easy to pack.

They were comfortable even after hours of walking.

They are so easy to clean and are even dishwasher safe.

Have you ever been able to wash your shoes in the dishwasher?

I sure haven’t but I love it!

Also very high on my list is that these shoes are made with recycled shoes and scraps from Okabashi’s very lean manufacturing process.

I love that these are made from recycled products and can be recycled.

Best Water Shoes
Best Water Shoes

Okabashi’s 2 year guarantee

So many brands of flip flops fall apart just months after you buy them and go straight to the landfill.

Okabashi shoes are made to last.

They are guaranteed to last two years.

I have never known any brand of shoe that offers its customers a two year guarantee.

Mostly, it is just 30 days, if even that.

Okabashi doesn’t just sell flip flops, they also sell several other styles of sandals and clogs for both men and women.

Benefits of Okabashi shoes

  • Made in USA
  • Made from recycled water bottles
  • Arch support
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Easy to clean, dishwasher safe
  • Odor-resistant
  • Shoes for women and men
  • Family-owned company

If you like to wear sandals in the summer, I would highly recommend Okabashis for recyclable flip flops and other sandals.

I had never heard of recyclable flip flops and was excited when the folks at Okabashi were kind enough to send me a pair of their Okabashi Womens Ocean Thong Flip Flop Sandals (Black & Silver, Medium).

They’re attractive, comfortable, durable, and low-impact.

I’m a fan.

Okabashi has been around for over 30 years.

They have always made their shoes in the USA.

Best Green Dish Soap: Whole Foods 365 Review

Best Green Dish Soap

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Green dish soap – When Whole Foods announced their new 365 household products, including for laundry, household cleaning, and kitchen, we were thrilled.

Whenever possible, we seek out green options.

They provided us with some samples to review for their eco-friendly and green dish soap.

Until recently, when it mysteriously disappeared, I was loyal to my Method Dish Soap in Pink Grapefruit.

Sure – the bottle was a little awkward – but a bottle would last a really long time and was relatively inexpensive.

I would have preferred dye-free dish soap, but I loved the pink grapefruit smell.

But it’s gone, and we were in search of another green dish soap when Whole Foods told us about their new line: 365 Dish Soap.

365 Dish Soap Review of green dish soap Whole Foods

Green Dish Soap Price

The 365 Brand Dish Soap comes in three options: unscented, Mandarin Ginger, and Citrus.

Strangely the Mandarin Ginger was priced higher than the other two for the same quantity so we opted for the Citrus.

Whole Foods picked up the tab for the bottle, but since I wouldn’t likely spend more of my own money on a different scent I wasn’t going to spend theirs either.

It was priced competitively with the Seventh Generation dish soaps.
green dish soap Whole Foods

Dish Soap Scent and Texture

The citrus smell has a slight citrus smell to it and is not overpowering in anyway.

It’s much closer to being un-fragrance than to being over-fragrances.

It is dye free and doesn’t leave the hands too dry.

Crucial for those of us living in cold and dry winter wonderlands.

I do not want to have to slather my hands with lotion — more chemicals oftentimes — every time I do dishes or scrub a pan.

How Well Does the Dish Soap Work?

The 365 Dish Soap is extremely effective.

It removes both the grease and eggs from our stainless steel cookware as effectively as any other green dish soaps we’ve used.

My only complaint is that the soap is either extra runny or the hole is too big.

Resulting in more dish soap coming out of the bottle in one squirt than is actually needed.

When you turn the bottle over the soap comes pouring out without even having to squirt.

This reminds me of when I buy certain salad dressings and some of the brands and lids have a small hole from which to dispense the dressing and it comes out slowly and others do not have any plastic covering over the lid/hole and out pours more than you could ever eat.

I like that the bottle is not overly large because I don’t like, nor do I have room to store, large quantities of anything in my modest-sized home.

I am never someone who is going to mix together my own “recipes” for chemical-free cleaning products or buy a large quantity of the solution and have to dilute with water.

So when I can find some eco-friendly cleaning products that work, I’m happy.

I’m doing whatever I can to eliminate chemicals and toxins from my home so it is important to consider products you use most often, and then get the best and “healthiest” of those products whenever possible.

Update since reviewing this green dish soap Whole Foods:

One way to find healthy products is to look for the Environmental Protection Agencies’ new “Safer Choice” logo on the product.

After a lengthy and thorough process by EPA scientists, over 1,000 products have been deemed safe from potential health and environmental risks.

Another great place to check is the GoodGuide.

Overall, if you are a Whole Foods shopper, it is definitely worth checking out the 365 Brand of green products, including household cleaning supplies and their green dish soap.

The brand is competitively priced and work as well as their brand name counterparts.

Spring cleaning in easy steps

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the house is covered in a dull film of winter.

It’s spring, and it’s time to spruce up the home front with a good purge and scrub.

Clean faster and better with these tips for spring cleaning in 8 easy steps.

Guide to Going Green for Busy Mothers

As you dive into spring cleaning, be sure to follow these simple steps to make your cleaning low-impact and more environmentally friendly.

Declutter

The first step of any spring cleaning is to get rid of the junk you accumulated in the last 9 months.

And the stuff you haven’t missed all winter and therefore, can probably live without.

When you’re purging, you might be tempted to trash everything, but resist the urge.

There’s are greener ways to deal with your unwanted items.

Re-Use or Repurpose Unwanted Items

Don’t get rid of anything you know you’ll use again.

This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s tempting to throw everything away and start over again.

This is your chance to be creative.

Think about ways you can repurpose unwanted items.

Recycle the Recyclables

For belongings and boxes that are beyond reusing, make a recycling pile and a trash pile.

Double check your city’s list of recyclables, then get to work sorting through your trash.

Some progressive cities have drop-off bins for cardboard and other easy-to-recycle materials.

Have a Yard Sale

A garage sale is one of the easiest ways to purge your house of unnecessary items, and it has the bonus of bringing in some cash.

Immediately take whatever doesn’t sell to your nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill or other secondhand store.

Whatever you do, don’t bring the items that didn’t sell back into your home and garage.

If a yard sale is too much work for you, post your belongings on Craigslist or freecycle.

These things all take time. Sometimes you want stuff gone immediately.

In these cases, take it to an organization for their upcoming rummage sale, or drop your things off at Goodwill, which makes it very convenient.

Take your books to the library.

Bring school and office supplies to your local school.

Basically, anything decent deserves a home.

Clean Inside

Now that you’ve decluttered your life, it’s time for the real hard work — cleaning.

Before you rush to the store to stock up on cleaning supplies and paper towels, read these tips to save money and the environment.

Use or Make Green Cleaning Products

If you’re into store-bought cleaning products, check out greener brands like Method and Seventh Generation.

But if you’re up for making your own products, you can save a lot or money.

My favorite natural cleaning products are baking soda and vinegar, but there are tons of ways to use other non-toxic cleaners.

Check out Non-Toxic Home Cleaning for ideas.

Forgo Paper Towels for Old Rags

Paper towels are terrible for the environment.

According to Care2, their production kills 1.4 million trees every year.

So pass on the paper towels and opt for reusable rags made of old towels, t-shirts, socks, and any other cloth you find lying around.

Give New Life to Walls with Low-VOC Paint

If painting your walls — or anything else — is on your spring cleaning list, go for low-VOC paint.

It’s less smelly, better for your health, and better for the environment.

Plus, the quality of low-VOC paint has gotten better over the years and now it’s just as good and the non-eco alternative.

Prepare the Yard for Spring

If you’re feeling ambitious enough to take your spring cleaning outside, follow these simple, eco-friendly tips to get your yard ready for spring.

Compost Your Leaves

The best way to get rid of those leaves left over from last fall is to throw them in the compost bin.

If you don’t currently compost, you can build your own compost bin.

At the very least, be sure to use paper leaf bags instead of plastic garbage bags; many cities require them now and they’re better for the environment.

Skip Weed Killers

Yes, dandelions can be pests.

I spent a good 5 hours last year with a manual weeder uprooting the pesky weeds, but it was worth it.

The chemicals in spray weed killers are bad for your health, your children’s and pets’ health, and the environment.

If you really want to use a weed killer, opt for a natural alternative.

Bonus tip!

Install a Rain Barrel

Prepare your yard for spring by adding a rain barrel or two.

That way you won’t waste water when you water your plants.

Instead, you can reuse rain water.

Consider setting up a rain garden as well.

What are your green spring cleaning tips?

By using these spring cleaning in 8 easy steps ideas, you will be on the way to a more organized and less cluttered home.

Green Spring Cleaning Checklist

In most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, spring has arrived!

Time to throw open the windows and let some fresh air into your home.

It’s also a great time to organize, recycle unused items, and yes, clean.

We created this green spring cleaning checklist to help you get started.

We’ll start with my least favorite of the three: spring cleaning.

There’s no reason to use harsh chemicals that have the potential to hurt your pets, children, and the environment.

We’ll show you how to get your spring cleaning done in a green spring cleaning manner for eco-friendly homes.

Here are The Top Green Cleaning Products, Click here for Pro Tips on How to Clean Your Home

Guide to Going Green for Busy Mothers

Heavy dusting:

Vinegar and water are your friend!

And if that’s the only thing you remember from this post, you’ll be in good shape.

Vinegar is a primary green cleaning solution for multiple uses.

To dust all household surfaces, mix a few tablespoons of vinegar with a bowl of water, soak a dishrag, wring it out, and dust.

The water will clean the dust off, and the vinegar will help the furniture surfaces repel dust in future.

Don’t forget to take books out of bookshelves to dust those surfaces as well!

Walls and ceilings:

Use your vacuum extension to clean corners, walls, and around the corners of ceilings, then use a damp cloth (water is fine, or your vinegar solution) to wipe down walls.

Baseboards are an often-forgotten part of the wall that gets the dirtiest!

Draperies and curtains:

Most drapes and window treatments are machine washable, which makes the hardest part about cleaning them climbing up on a step ladder to get them down.

Don’t do what I do, and teeter precariously on a chair.

Run them in a delicate cycle with eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Carpets and rugs:

This is the time to deep clean your carpets with a steam cleaner.

They are available to rent, borrow, or buy, but instead of filling the cleaning compartment with the chemical stuff, use — you guessed it — water and vinegar.

This time, however, you’ll want equal parts of both ingredients.

Use the steam cleaner as directed, washing and rinsing (with plain water).

When the carpet dries, the vinegar smell will disappear.

Bathrooms:

Aren’t bathrooms the worst?!

Clean them with a solution of borax (which can be found in your supermarket for a fraction of the cost of heavy-duty commercial cleaners) and water with lemon juice.

Be patient: it will take juice longer to cut through grease and grime than you’re used to with chemicals, but it will get the job done.

Organizing Green Spring Cleaning

Now is the time to go through your kitchen cupboards and organize pots and pans, your closets to sort clothing (especially if you have kids who rapidly grow out of sizes), and your garage.

Perhaps to finally make room for the car?

With all of the great organizers out there these days it can make this whole process go pretty smoothly.

Additionally, spring cleaning is a great time to check or organize the following:

Defrost your freezer, and clean your refrigerator:

It’s not a fun task, I know, but you just might find a pint of Ben & Jerry’s you’d hidden from your spouse and kids in the process.

Plan ahead for freezer defrosting, eating your way through frozen items in the weeks beforehand, or making room for them in a smaller freezer.

Clean your fridge with the same water and vinegar solution you applied to your dusting efforts.

Check smoke detector batteries and replace incandescent light bulbs with energy saving bulbs.

You may also consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detector while you’re at it: they’re affordable, plug in to a wall outlet, and save lives.

Recycling

Spring marks the start of yard sale or tag sale season, and now’s the time to get ready by identifying and reserving those household items you wish to recycle.

Maybe it’s time to go through the old DVD collection now that your stream your movies, or perhaps your kids have outgrown toys that now add clutter to their rooms.

Sort outgrown clothing and household items, and box them for a future yard sale, or consider donating them to a children’s shelter or Goodwill (you can even get a tax deduction for donating).

Another option that allows items to be reused: list them as free on Craigslist.

We’ve met a number of nice families in our communities by paying it forward with items we no longer need.

According to Martha Stewart (we might as well ask the expert!), you’ll need to tackle the following on your spring cleaning to-do list.

Using a green spring cleaning checklist will make you feel good about cleaning.

What’s on your spring cleaning to-do list?

Share your green cleaning solution tips!

Natural Moisturizer: Best Eco-Friendly Natural Lotion for Home and Travel

I’ve spent many hours researching non-toxic alternatives to traditional lotions and facial moisturizers.

I’ve tried quite a few options in the way of natural moisturizers.

My two criteria in my search for great lotion are:

It’s safe – something I can feel good about using every day

Not ridiculously expensive.

Here are the best natural, organic lotions around.

Bring your eco-friendly lotion with you wherever you go — even on vacations.

It’s a great way to helping you to green your hotel stay by not using the toiletries there, and you can continue to use products you know are safe.

Best Natural Lotion – Hand and Body

Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Honey & Orange Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees has long been known for its commitment to creating healthy products and keeping its environmental impact low.

All products are paraben, phthalate, petrochemical, and sulfate-free.

This lotion has a refreshing, natural scent and is a great hand and body lotion.

Kiss My Face Olive Oil & Aloe Ultra Moisturizer

Kiss My Face is another company that’s committed to creating non-toxic personal care products.

This lotion is fragrance- and paraben-free.

It’s also fairly light and thin, and it’s not greasy at all.

Their Olive Oil & Aloe Moisturizer is great for the summer.

If you’re looking for a heavier, winter-ready lotion, try Kiss My Face Peaches and Cream Moisturizer.

California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday Lotion, No Fragrance

California Baby was making natural lotions before it was trendy to make natural lotions.

Their products focus on children, but they’re safe for babies, they’re safe for adults.

This lotion is free of fragrance, as well as nut oils, gluten, soy, oat and dairy.

It does contain 0.15% parabens as preservative.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion, Unscented

Like other Alba products, this lotion is full of natural, organic ingredients and paraben-free.

Plus, it’s unscented. It’s a lighter lotion, so if you’re looking for something to battle dry winters, you might want something thicker.

But at under $14 for 32 ounces of lotion, the price is right.

Hugo Naturals Red Tea & Ylang Ylang Body Lotion

Although the manufacturer (Hugo Boss) is a bit of a surprise, this lotion is free of artificial fragrances and colors, parabens, and petroleum by-products.

It also claims to be cruelty-free.

Natural Moisturizers – Facial

Natural Moisturizer – Facial Alba Sea Moss Moisturizer with SPF 15

Alba’s moisturizer isn’t tested on animals, contains certified organic ingredients, and is free of parabens and synthetic colors.

A plus for me is that the scent is very mild and it’s less expensive than similar facial moisturizers.

Nature’s Baby Organics Organic Face and Body Moisturizer

This fragrance-free lotion is made with 70% certified organic ingredients and is paraben and propylene glycol-free.

It’s also 100% vegan.

Plus, you can use it for the whole family, and the price is right.

Amazing Basic, Natural Face Moisturizer with Organic Honey and Vitamin E

If you’re willing to spend a little more on your natural facial lotion, this is the lotion for you.

It contains certified organic ingredients, is paraben-free and biodegradable, and is free of artificial fragrances, colors, and petroleum derivatives.

But its $36 price might be a turn-off.

100% Pure Caffeine Eye Cream, Organic Coffee Bean

This unique eye cream is free of parabens, petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances.

It uses caffeine-rich coffee and tea to reduce swelling and puffiness around the eyes.

It’s also made in the USA and not tested on animals.

Have you tried a great lotion that’s not on the list?

Do you bring your lotion and toiletries with you when you travel?

Share it in the comments below!

Hidden Toxins in Homes and How to Get Rid of Them

Hidden toxins in homes?

We’ve already eliminated the lead paint and asbestos… are there still more toxins?

Sadly, yes!

Over the last several decades there has been an increasing awareness of them.

These toxins in homes reside in our everyday products, in everything from our food containers, pillows, toys, cleaning products, furniture, and more.

With so many of our everyday products being manufactured overseas, there is often less quality control.

However, with information now so readily available, it is important to seek out the research done by the experts.

There can be safer and healthier alternatives to some of our beloved products.

We’ve done the work for you… read on!

Top toxins in our homes and safer replacements

Bottled Water & Water Bottles

We can find disposable water bottles everywhere because they are so convenient and affordable.

We often select bottled water thinking it is the healthiest choice.

Some consumers buy caseloads of single-serve bottles, and use them exclusively.

Others use them as an easy to-go source when they are out and about.

Still others may buy them for guests, parties, and kids’ lunches.

Then of course, water bottles, the second type, may be used by the more environmentally-friendly consumer.

He or she is trying to do well by the earth and uses a plastic refillable bottle.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in some plastic water bottles and can leach into your water.

This includes bottled water you purchase as well as reusable plastic water bottles that you refill.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor linked to early puberty and cancer.

Drink water from the tap (see below) and drink it from a glass, not a plastic cup.

Buy a reusable glass water bottle or stainless steel water bottle.

Both are always free of BPA.

Food Storage Containers

The situation: So many people are happily and proudly forgoing plastic bags, especially in their children’s and their own lunches; however, they are replacing them with plastic food containers.

Yes, that saves on thousands of plastic bags filling our landfills, but the reusable plastic can harbor toxic chemicals.

There are also plastic storage containers used for leftovers, etc. in the home.

In addition, remember the plastic food containers that prepared food often comes in, as in frozen meals.

As with plastic water bottles, plastic food storage containers often contain the endocrine disruptor BPA.

For lunches, opt for stainless steel containers, like the LunchBots Quad Stainless.

They are dishwasher safe so you can safely clean them without toxins leaching out.

For left-overs at home, choose glass storage containers, like those made by Pyrex, instead of plastic.

If you do use plastic, never microwave it or use it to store hot food.

BUY LunchBots stainless steel bento box HERE

More info: Food and Drug Administration’s BPA: Use in Food Contact

Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers,

Nonstick Pans

Nonstick pans are wonderful in that you don’t need to add extra oil or use chemically-derived, non-stick sprays when cooking.

Nonstick cookware contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical linked to cancer and liver disease.

Opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead.

More info: Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set Showdown

Vacuum Cleaners

We know vacuums are wonderful at removing dirt, lint, pet hair, and dust.

Their job is to make your home cleaner.

It is so important though, to be using the right kind of vacuum cleaner.

Rather than removing dust and toxins from your home, your vacuum cleaner may be stirring them up so you breathe them in.

Buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will trap small particles and remove more toxins from the air.

Bonus: HEPA filters traps more allergens, too.

Personal Care Products

Most of us use personal care products everyday.

Most of the time, the products we use are ones we have bought for years, routinely — never questioning, much less thinking about — the hidden toxins and ingredients in them.

We go to the store, and we put them in our cart without ever thinking about their chemical makeup.

Personal care products like deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, and shampoo are very loosely regulated in the US, which means they often contain harmful chemicals.

The fix: Do your research with Good Guide and Skin Deep and buy products with fewer (or even better, no) harmful ingredients.

Or, if you have the time or interest, make your own personal care products.

Two surprises for me were two of my favorite products:

Dove bar soap and Off! insect repellent.

I love the white, unscented Dove bar soap.

I like that it doesn’t contain perfumes and dyes, and it always seemed hypo-allergenic as I never experienced any symptoms after using it.

I fully expected it to score at least an 8 or a 9 out of a possible 10 points for health/safety on Good Guide and was surprised to discover it scored a meager 4 points for the health concern of the ingredients.

It contains butylated hydroxytoluene, which they consider to be a “medium health concern.”

I usually buy Off!

insect repellent and was surprised to learn that within the same product line there so many differences when it comes to the “Health” of the ingredients.

Surprisingly, this was true of most brands of products I use.

For example, Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Towelettes scored an 8/10 in Health.

However, the Off!

Family Care Insect Repellent Towelettes with Aloe Vera, Light & Fresh scored a frightening 0/10 in the Health category for the following reason: “This product contains problematic, banned, or contaminated ingredients.”

I would have assumed the “family” version was safest choice.

Going forward, I plan to check Good Guide for all of the healthcare products my family uses. I want to find out which ones score “10.”

If they don’t, I will look for alternative products.

More about looking up products on Good Guide

What is also very helpful in the Good Guide site is that they rank the health and safety of the products’ ingredients.

They also take it steps further by giving each company an overall grade to include the company’s environment and society rankings.

As stated above, it is remarkable how many differences there are in ingredients within the same brand and same type of product.

Do your research!

Water

Have you ever considered what you may be drinking and cooking with every single day?

Another everyday toxin in homes may be your water.

Your tap water might be contaminated with dangerous pollutants.

Note that bottled water is not the answer; it’s often just tap water put into a wasteful plastic bottle containing BPA.

Bottled water makers don’t fully disclose the source or purity of their water.

Filter your water, either with a simple filter like a Brita pitcher, or with a reverse osmosis system.

How to Choose Healthy Water Bottle – 34 Resources
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review BPA-free Bottles
Glass Water Bottles: BPA Free Water Bottles
Best Water Bottle with Filter
Filtered Water Bottle Review
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Plastics Cheat Sheet:

Baby Toys, Bottles & Personal Care

Chances are when it comes to baby, most of the things you are buying you have purchased new.

Many, if not most of them, are probably made from plastic.

Even more alarming, most of these newly purchased, plastic items are made in China and other countries with less-strict regulations.

When it comes to babies and children, it is so important to eliminate toxins in homes.

Teething toys and bottle nipples can contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates.

Bottles are often made with BPA.

Baby shampoos, diaper rash ointment and lotion can be chock full of harmful chemicals.

Formula cans can be lined with BPA.

Do your research.

Buy products made in the United States.

Buy natural baby toys made of wood, silicone, and rubber.

Use glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free baby bottles with silicone nipples.

Seek out options other than the standards sippy cups and plastic straws.

Look up your baby’s lotion, shampoo, and other personal care products on Skin Deep or Good Guide.

Another side note that cannot be overlooked: It is important to realize there can be BIG differences in the products you choose.

When I looked up Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Jar for Baby, Creamy Formula, Enriched with Vitamin E, it scored a 10/10 in the “Health” category.

Yet Vaseline Baby Pure Petroleum Jelly Jar, Fresh Scent, scored a 6/10 for Health because of “insufficient ingredient information.”

More info: Best Natural and Green Baby Products

Pillows and Mattresses and Carpeting

The situation: When considering this category, I would have thought the hidden toxins in home pillows and mattresses would be the fact that I’ve kept them for too long, and that they would be filled with dust and dust mites.

Little did I know….Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other toxic chemicals are widely used to prevent the spread of fire and are likely to be found in dozens of products in the home.

They have been used in products since the 1970’s in plastics; fabrics; foam in cushions, couches, beds and pillows, padding under the carpet, etc.; and electronics, including TV screens.

Since 2005, the PBDEs in foam furniture is no longer legal in the US; however, if you have products from before then — and most everyone does — you could be at risk.

Again, these would include everyday items that aren’t generally replaced, including mattresses, mattress pads, couches, easy chairs, pillows, car seats, carpet padding, and more. PBDEs were also used in vehicle seating, car seats, and office furniture.

The threat: Not many of us have replaced our mattresses and couches since 2005.

These, and our pillows too, all can contain PBDEs, which are chemical flame retardants linked to thyroid problems.

Exposure can be especially bad for babies and kids. PBDE can be passed to a baby through breast milk.

The fix: Buy and use pillows made from natural foam, wool, natural latex, buckwheat, organic cotton, or another natural material.

Buy an organic mattress.

Buy a new crib mattress.

Research the materials used before purchasing new couches and upholstered furniture.

Look for carpet pads that are certified for low VOC emissions and made with 100% new materials.

Ask about PBDEs and other hazardous materials.

Many carpet pads are made with waste and scrap materials so it is important to get information from a reputable source.

Natural fibers such as jute, horsehair, and felt and 100% sheep wool are generally safe.

Use caution when removing old carpet, and clean afterwards with a mop and quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

More info: Shopping Tips for Green Products

Household Cleaning Products

We use them to make our home and living environment cleaner and healthier.

How can it be that this is another area that we have to wonder about and even worry about?

Have you ever thought about what you are spraying?

What are you and your family breathing in when you clean?

Cleaning products from dishwasher and laundry detergents to all-purpose cleaners are virtually unregulated.

And companies that make those products aren’t required to disclose their ingredients.

Which means that many contain harmful chemicals.

Buy natural cleaning products from eco-minded brands you trust.

Use the Guide to Healthy Cleaning and Good Guide to check your products.

Or learn to make your own green cleaning products.

It is fairly easy to do.

Easy to remove most hidden toxins in homes

The remedy for most of these toxins is education.

Research your favorite products, buy glass storage containers, buy a water filter and a stainless steel water bottle, make your own cleaning products.

When you are armed with information, it will become easier to almost permanently remove the harmful toxins.

Overhaul your home with simple changes

Make a list of what you can change and start to remove hidden toxins in homes.

Others you may not be able to change as easily, like the carpet padding.

However, perhaps you can purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Overall, the goal is to live healthier.

Make simple changes like using a stainless steel or glass water bottle instead of buying plastic throwaway bottles; buying safer and more environmentally-friendly health care products, like toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo; and using glass storage containers instead of plastic for leftovers.

Remember that many hidden toxins in homes can be easily replaced with safer alternatives.

Travel Alarm Clock Reviews of the Best Digital and Atomic Clocks

Travel Alarm Clock

Updated:

Travel Alarm Clock Reviews – When traveling, I like to have a real travel alarm clock nearby – not an iPhone or a digital watch.

I usually bring a travel alarm clock with me on my trips. Why?

I like the reliability of my own clock.

I would rather not worry about not setting the hotel’s travel alarm clock correctly and missing my flight or meeting.

Do you remember the days of calling the hotel’s front desk and asking for a wake up call at a certain time?

For better or for worse, those days are long gone!

Depending on what type of travel alarm clock you’re looking for, there many choices.

What makes a clock the best travel clock?

  • Easy to pack
  • Simple to set the time and alarm
  • Easy to see the time

Simply, it’s one that you will want to use as much as home as you do on the road.

It will become part of your morning routine.

Best Digital Travel Alarm Clock

This clock is often unavailable on Amazon but it’s our favorite.

For our family, it’s the best alarm clock, hands down.

It’s the Westclox NYL47538 LCD Digital Bedside Alarm Clock.

Through the years, we have purchased four of these because we love them so much.

My kids also use them, and even bring them on vacations and sleepovers.

It’s technically a “bedside” and not a “travel” clock, but it packs easily and is light.

This is a simple clock.

What we love best is the big button to light the screen.

It’s great to check the time in the middle of the night.

The numbers are large.

It’s very easy to set the time and the alarm.

We like sleeping in total darkness and like that this clock doesn’t illuminate in any way unless you press the Light button.

Some many not like that it doesn’t fold; however, when we’ve had folding alarm clocks in the past, they’ve often broke.

We’ve dropped the Westclox by mistake a few times, and it was fine.

The Westclox measures 3″W x 3″D x 2.5″H.

It has a sturdy base and takes two AAA batteries.

It’s a great clock.

Other digital alarm clocks we like

This Elgin Travel Alarm clock is the best in the category of most basic travel alarm clock.

It has a four minute snooze with an indigo backlight.

It measures 4” by 5” and requires 1 AA battery for operation.
Elgin Folding Travel Alarm Clock
The Casio Travel Alarm clock comes with a thermometer.

It also has a 5 minute snooze and requires 2 AAA batteries.

It has a blue backlit face and features the day and date, great for when you’re on the road.

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with the date like the Casio, this Sharp travel alarm clock might be just want you want.

It has a huge snooze button, backlit.

It’s ultra-thin and folds up to be the size of a cell phone.

You can get this Seiko “get up and glow” alarm clock.

It’s digital.

It’s easy to set and easy to operate.

The snooze/light button is large.

It uses a AAA battery and has the date on the face.

Best Atomic Travel Alarm Clock

The Oregon Scientific atomic travel alarm clock is a little unusual looking.

Perhaps more modern than most alarm clocks.

It has a crescendo alarm that gradually gets louder (in case you’re a sound sleeper).

We like the 8-minute snooze.

My kids like that you can use the projection setting to continuously project or momentarily project the time onto the ceiling.

It’s an atomic clock that automatically updates the time.

This Sony alarm clock automatically updates the time.

It has a dual alarm.

You can adjust the brightness of the display.

It has a radio and measures about 7” by 3.5”.

Seiko, known for superior atomic clocks, comes with a three year warranty and is backed by the Seiko brand.

Besides automatically updating the time, the display is clear and the date/day functions are helpful.
Analog travel alarm clock

Analog Travel Alarm Clocks

Sick of digital products?

Just want a good old fashioned analog travel alarm clock?

This 3×3” folds-into-a-box analog alarm clock is your best bet.

Travel clock

It’s worth getting a travel clock.

You will use it for quick overnight trips.

My one son even brings his Westclok into the living room each day to manage our time before school.

You will probably use it much more often than you expect.

It isn’t expensive to invest in a decent travel alarm clock, and the peace of mind you will have knowing you will be able to wake up on time is worth it.

You will probably sleep better too!

Water-Powered Alarm Clock

Personally, I cannot go to sleep in a hotel room without being in sight of a clock, but I also can’t always plug my smart phone in close by.

This little water-powered clock doesn’t need an outlet, and is so lightweight, you’ll barely know you’ve packed it.

The device tells time by harvesting energy from the salted water you fill it with to fuel the simple LCD screen.

No batteries needed!

Buy it on Amazon.

Why Modern Travelers Still Need Travel Alarm Clocks

When a friend of mine told me they were looking for a small travel alarm clock to take with them on a backpacking trip my first thought was Why?

When I go away I rely on my phone to get me up in the morning, so could not understand why they wanted a physical travel clock.

It turns out they had several good reasons why they needed a physical clock rather than relying on a phone app to get them up with the larks.

The easiest way to cover these reasons is to take a look at the different types of travel clocks that are available and how they benefit certain groups of travelers.

This is an update to our Best Travel Alarm Clock Reviews

Solar Powered Travel Alarm Clocks for Remote Travelers

For those travelling in remote spots power can be a huge issue.

But not with a Solar Powered Travel Alarm Clock!

There just is not anywhere to charge a phone, so relying on an alarm phone app to keep track of time and get you up is just not an option.

In this situation, a compact solar or dual powered clock with a built in alarm is an ideal option.

The best ones have a range of light settings to help you to conserve power.

If your clocks charge levels are low you can opt for the screen to be black and to see the time you hit a button.

On the other hand, if the day has been sunny and the clock is fully charged you can opt to have the time show all of the time.

Extra Loud Travel Alarm Clocks for Heavy Sleepers

For some people the volume on their phone’s alarm app just is not high enough to get them up.

My dad was a night worker, and a heavy sleeper.

To get up he had to rig a doorbell with the button taped down to a timer downstairs to make sure he heard it.

The fact he had to get up and go downstairs to turn it off ensured he actually got up.

I can tell you that alarm was loud, but if he did not get up because he simply did not hear an ordinary alarm clock.

Judging by the number of extra loud travel alarm clocks there are out there it seems my dad is not alone.

My personal favorite is aptly named the Sonic Boom Alarm Clock.

It is not a travel clock as such, but is a practical option for those who are travelling and need an extra loud alarm to ensure they do not miss their flight.

Folding Travel Alarm Clocks

My favorite kind of alarm clock is the folding type.

I know, I know having a favorite type of alarm clock is a bit sad, but I can remember my granny coming to stay and bringing hers with her, so they bring back good memories.

As a kid it fascinated me that it was so small when folded, and the fact that the hands and numbers glowed in the dark really helped.

It was like something an alien should own.

Braun Black Reflex Controlled Travel Alarm Clock

Compact Travel Alarm Clocks for Backpackers

While we are on the subject of travel clocks that do not take up a lot of space, how about miniature alarm clocks.

There are plenty of really small alarm clocks out there, but they are a bit bland.

I have found some nice miniature clocks that have a simple alarm feature built in, which would be a good alternative to a plastic clock.

Just be careful not to buy one that gets lost in your suitcase.

Projection Travel Alarm Clocks

If like me you are used to sleeping with a projection clock& it can be weird waking up in the night looking at the ceiling to check the time only to find it is not there.

Unfortunately, my home projection clock is too big to travel with.

However, I have found a viable alternative in the XREXS projector clock.

It is quite compact and has an easy way to adjust the angle of the projector and thus adapt it to any room configuration.

Importantly, it runs on batteries, so there is no bulky lead and plug to find suitcase space for, and no need to pack an additional travel plug when taking it abroad.

Non-ticking Travel Alarm Clocks

Most travel alarm clocks are analog rather than digital.

They are great because they take up less space and use less battery power, but there is a big issue with analog clocks and it is that they tick.

If you are not used to the sound of a ticking clock I guarantee that it will drive you nuts and may even keep you awake.

This is clearly something that the manufacturers of alarm clocks have realized, which is why they now sell non-ticking travel clocks.

One of the best is the Timelink 88659, which also has built in brightness control.

No more fumbling Travel Alarm Clocks

So, if you are tired of waking up in the night, disorientated, in a strange hotel room, not knowing what the time is, fumbling around and knocking your mobile phone onto a hard tile floor .

Go old school and buy yourself a snazzy new travel alarm clock.

As you can see there are all kinds of travel clocks available, so there is bound to be one out there that is right for you.

Sustainable Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Sustainable Restaurants

Updated:

Sustainable Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul – When we moved away from Washington DC, I knew I’d miss two things above all others: excellent public transportation and amazing restaurants.

I began my quest to find the best sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis – St. Paul.

What did I learn?

Although the public transit in the Twin Cities is comparatively lacking, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the restaurant scene and especially by the top-notch eateries dedicated to sustainable seafood.

What makes a restaurant sustainable?

It is important to make going green a lifestyle. But what makes a restaurant sustainable?

Due to the higher costs involved in going fully organic, it is difficult for most restaurants to compete.

But there are a lot of factors to consider, and it’s important to support restaurants that do even a few things to support our earth, animals, and the overall health of their consumers.

Before you dine, find out where they source their ingredients.

What do they offer that is organic?

Do they buy their produce, dairy and meat from nearby sources?

Depending on where the restaurant is located, it may or may not be possible.

Do they offer vegetarian options?

Find out if the meat they source uses best practices regarding Animal Welfare Standards, including no cages/crates and no crowding; outdoor access; and being pasture centered.

Learn if the restaurant sources their eggs from cage-free systems.

With these restaurants and others that are organic, buy local, support their community, work toward conserving energy and water, recycle and compost, and strive for sustainability, it is easy to make an earth-friendly choice. Food Quotes

What are the best sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul?

Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market

289 East Fifth Street, St. Paul, MN 55101

My favorite Twin Cities dining experience happened at the chef’s table in Heartland’s St. Paul location.

Locally sourced meats and vegetables, freshly baked on-site breads, and delectable desserts — all paired with delicious wines.

Their nightly changing menu supports artisanal producers and small family farmers and sources organic and sustainable local ingredients.

From their grass-fed roast beef to their many salads, Heartland Restaurant is a place you will want to return to again and again.

Sustainable Restaurants in Minneapolis - St. Paul

Birchwood Cafe

3311 East 25th Street, Minneapolis MN 55406

We absolutely love that this restaurant sources from over 40 local producers.

Not only that, Birchwood Cafe actually lists all of these places on their website, with links to those farms, etc. when available.

They list where they get each of their categories of food, including meat and fish; dairy; growers; beverages; and their distributors.

They support local organic farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Birchwood Cafe is where I go when I want a spicy black bean burger accented by fresh veggies and served with a cold Surly beer.

They have excellent soups and desserts, too, and a dedication to sustainability.

Red Stag Supperclub

509 1st Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Specializing in organic and local foods, Reg Stag was the first LEED-CI certified restaurant in Minnesota and the first facility in the United States to use only LED lighting, which use 90% less electricity than their incandescent bulb competitors.

They also compost and recycle.

I love the vibe at Red Stag.

It is warm and traditional with a contemporary edge.

Everything I’ve had there is fantastic.

It’s one of my favorite places to meet for a business lunch.

We love their support of non-profit and community organizations that support hunger, education, social justice, arts, the environment, sustainability and more.

When you are in the area, check out the Red Stag Supperclub.

The Craftsman

4300 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

I had the best rabbit of my life at The Craftsman on my birthday two years ago.

Then a few weeks back, I tried their locally-sourced charcuterie plate and loved it, and I’m not a big meat eater.

The Craftsman just feels classy, a throwback to another era.

I’d recommend it for a full dinner or just wine and appetizers.

We love that their menu changes with what is in season, offering The Craftsman the opportunity to choose the best in organic produce, artisanal cheese from local co-ops and farms, and humanely raised poultry, seafood, and meat.

Brasa Premium Rotisserie

600 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55414 and 777 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Brasa is the perfect place to go with friends who like to eat.

Their sandwiches are fantastic, but I would recommend opting for a few sides and one or two meats.

The slow roasted pork and braised beef are my favorites, but everything is fantastic and local.

Locally produced, natural and organic….

If you have a taste for flavors from southern US, Caribbean and Mexico, Brasa Premium Rotisserie is the place.

Many of their ingredients are locally sourced.

They offer 100% natural eggs, meat, and dairy products, and they offer many organic ingredients as well as offering fair trade coffee and tea.

We love that they offer vegetarian and gluten free choices as well.

Why eat organic?

It is important to learn more about where your food comes from.

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards explain what it means for farms and ranches to qualify.

It is a long list of very strict guidelines.

Sustainable dining is so important for so many reasons.

As far as sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis – St. Paul, these are all excellent.

Whether you live in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, work there or are just visiting, it is worth your while to try one of these sustainable eateries.

When you are looking for an amazing, sustainable food experience in the Twin Cities, you don’t have to look far.

Remember when you eat out to try to patronize farm-to-table restaurants.

Parka in Minneapolis Review: Delectable Dining in Longfellow

Ever since I heard about the impending arrival of Parka in Minneapolis, a new restaurant near my home, I have been impatiently awaiting its opening.

Wednesday night the wait was over, and I was thrilled to experience the fantastic atmosphere, delicious food, and tasty beer on Parka’s opening day — all of which I’ll cover in this Parka Minneapolis ;review.

When you arrive, be sure to take in the laid-back, hip atmosphere of the restaurant, which gets much of its decor (chairs and cups, for example) from Forage Modern Workshop, a cool shop with unique furniture and a modern vibe and atmosphere.

Start your culinary journey with one of three beer choices from the Minneapolis-based Indeed Brewing Company.

We imbibed a Day Tripper pale ale and a Stir Crazy winter ale, and both were delicious.

We absolutely love that this restaurant serves local beverages.

Appetizers at Parka

If you’re tempted to skip the appetizers, don’t.

The succulent rabbit meatball hoagie was the best dish of the night.

The moist, flavorful meatballs are served on brioche-like bun from Rustica Bakery — another local source — and topped with a divine apricot mostarda and pistachio aioli.

The salt and vinegar beet chips that accompany the hoagie are a winner.

This food was unique as I’ve never, ever eaten rabbit much less in a meatball; nor have I ever tasted beet chips.

I love trying new things, and this is the place to do it.

Main course at Parka restaurant

For my main course, I ordered the beer can chicken.

The chicken was moist and tender and served on a bed of popcorn grits.

Being from Texas, I’m picky about my grits, and these were really good.

The salad with roasted red peppers was a nice touch and well put together.

The one thing I didn’t love about this dish was the bitter flavor of one of the sauces.

Another minor point was that the chicken could have been more flavorful; it was a bit plain.

But overall, it was still a tasty dish.

I think I just expected a little bit more given how impressed I was with the appetizer.

My partner in crime loves ribs so she ordered them.

Parka’s glazed spare ribs did not disappoint.

The kale was sparse but tasty, and the vermicelli pudding was basically a fancy mac and cheese — in a good way.

It was put together nicely.

Dessert at Parka in Minneapolis

For dessert, we ordered the apple cobbler with cheddar ice cream.

Check out that presentation.

The cobbler had good flavor and wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated.

The cheddar ice cream had a good texture, but I think it would have been even better if it were cheesier.

Overall, a tasty dessert.

I never even heard of cheese ice cream before.

It was so interesting, and we would both definitely order it again.

Have you tried Parka Minneapolis yet?

What was your favorite dish?

Parka in Minneapolis address

4021 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55406
http://parkampls.com/
Hours: Weekdays 7AM – 1oPM and weekends 8AM-10PM

We enjoyed visiting Parka in Minneapolis.

It was decently priced, the service was excellent, and the wait time minimal.

Since writing this piece and having been to Parka two more times, it has closed, and is now Dogwood Coffee Bar.

Travel Socks and Travel Underwear: Men and Women

Travel Socks and Travel Underwear

Updated:

Travel Socks and Travel Underwear – Unlike most of our posts where we’ve given multiple options for our favorite dresses, skirts, hats, and jackets.

Choosing a favorite pair of travel socks or pair of travel underwear is easy.

Best Travel Skirts for Women
Best Travel Dresses
Women’s Travel Shoe
Best Travel Pants for Women
Best Travel Jackets for Women
Best Travel Shorts for Women

Best Travel Underwear

Hands down the answer is Ex Officio underwear.

The Ex Officio underwear is perfect for travelers because it dries quickly.

Seriously, it is the fastest drying underwear I’ve ever owned so it’s perfect for longer travel where you’re forced to do loads of laundry.

With Ex Officio you can just wash it out in the sink and it will be dry by morning.

Men’s and women’s Ex Officio underwear can be bought with free shipping at Zappos.

And if you don’t like them, you can send them back to Zappos and they’ll refund your money and pay for shipping.

Best Travel Socks (Generally)

The best travel socks I’ve come across are Thorlos.

Yes, they are insanely expensive for socks.

But for hiking, walking, and running they have the best support and cushion so that you’re not left with sore feet at the end of the day.

Plus unlike other socks I’ve packed on previous travels they don’t wear out.

We had to buy extremely uncomfortable.

Where that funny toe seam hit just the wrong part of your toes.

Fake Adidas socks in Argentina because so many of our Target brand socks had worn through from all of the hiking.

If you’re mainly going to be hiking, checkout this more from this article.

Best Travel Socks (for Winter)

If you’re heading somewhere extremely cold and want to pack socks that are warmer than Thorlos, buy Smartwools.

For both men and women Smartwools are the best travel socks for winter that you can find.

They are insanely warm, cute, durable, and comfortable.
Travel Socks and Travel Underwear

Disposable Underwear

Disposable Underwear: this may be the most un-green traveler thing I have come across in a long time.

And it’s just a little too ridiculous not to post about.

I wish I had found them in time for April Fool’s Day (and the joke would have been that they are real.)

That’s right – they make disposable underwear for travel.

Perhaps the commentator /reviewer with the most helpful disposable underwear review said this:

These are a life-saver for people going on extended trips. They can be washed and dried several times if you choose to be economical and environmentally conscious. They dry much faster than conventional underwear. Since they are lighter than conventional panties, they save a small but useful amount of energy by making your suitcase lighter. I also find them comfortable. I often find conventional panties chafing; these are very kind to my body.
If you are going somewhere just overnight, you might be able to save the inconvenience of carrying a suitcase simply by tucking a pair in your purse — not a discreet option with conventional underwear. They look like a little cotton roll and are wrapped in plastic.

Other reviewers also noted how light they are and that they are better because there are no dyes in them.

Besides for travel, it seems people also buy disposable underwear for maternity and hospital stays.

And men have the option of disposable briefs or disposable boxers.

They are relatively inexpensive – $20 for 30 pairs of panties or briefs or $7 for 10 pairs.

The cost of the men’s boxers are $20 for 18 pairs.

Given that they are washable, it makes them perhaps an understandable choice for for extended travel.

But note that they are made from polypropylene.

What will they think of next?

Best Travel Dresses on the Planet Guide ~ Top 6 Picks

Best Travel Dresses on the Planet Guide

Updated:

One of the most difficult parts of planning for a trip is figuring out what clothing to pack. You have limited space so you have to pack light. I wanted to find the best travel dresses that would be versatile enough to wear traveling and at home.

Dresses are great and easier to wear than skirts. With a dress, you won’t have to worry about finding a matching shirt.

It’s often easier to change up the look with different accessories as well.

What to look for in a travel dress?

  • Comfortable, fits well and has some “give”
  • Washable
  • Easy-to-pack and roll without wrinkling
  • Easy to dress up or down
  • Breathable material
  • Still fits if you gain or lose 5 – 10 pounds

Best Travel Dresses

Zalalus Women’s Summer Sleeveless Casual Swing Dress

For the price, you really can’t beat this. This travel dress flatters most body types because it’s loose fitting and “flowy” in an A-line cut.
best travel dresses
The t-shirt material (it’s not thin) lends itself to all sorts of activities. It has a little bit of stretch and a nice loose fit. You can wear it as a cover-up to the beach, walk around town or through museums in the day, and add a scarf or a statement necklace for dinner. This is the perfect cruise dress.

We also like that it looks good with sandals, flip flops, boots, and even heels. (It’s really cute with tights, boots and a sweater or cute jacket in the winter.)

You can truly change up this dress to make it work for you. Depending on the colors you choose, it’s available in sizes small to XX large. We found it true to size. We love the pockets. This is a sleeveless dress but it’s very easy to drape a wrap or sweater over your shoulders.

Also, if you gain or lose 5 – 15 pounds, this dress will fit. 

The Zalalus is a great dress for travel, and it will be your summer staple. It packs easily. You can roll it up, and shake it out and won’t have to worry about wrinkles. It comes in solid, neutral, flattering colors — black, wine red, navy, darker green, and more.

This is an easy, go-to dress you will want to wear on vacations and when you return home. It’s comfortable, flattering, has a nice drape, and is stylish.

Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress

Karen Kane 3/4 Sleeve A-Line Dress is machine washable and is available in sizes XS – XL. It’s available in black only. Because of the cut and the scoop neck, it will most likely fit all bust sizes and will be easy to fit.
Karen Kane Sleeve A-Line Dress
Made of a rayon and Spandex blend, it is wrinkle resistant and has a bit of a stretch to it, making it very comfortable. It’s great for cooler climates and air-conditioned restaurants because of its longer sleeves. This is one of the best travel dresses to dress up or down and also perfect for a cruise.

I bought this dress for traveling but it has become my go-to for work as it’s easy to change necklaces or add a scarf to change the look. It looks good with sandals, flats, heels or black boots. It’s made in America too.

Toad and Co Rosalinda Jersey Knit Dress

This Toad&Co Rosalinda Dress has three quarter length sleeves. There are so many colors and patterns, it will be difficult to choose which one to get. It’s machine washable and made with organic cotton, Tencel and Spandex.

It has a very flattering fit and is cut really well to flatter many body types. In addition, Tencel wicks moisture so it’s great for outdoor activities too. We like this brand’s commitment to considering the environment.

PrAna Amelie Dress

With a loose-fitting fabric, this is a dress that flatters most body types, from size small to extra large. It’s a modest cut.

It’s not form-fitting in the waist but offers you a little bit of shape, more so than A-line styles.
travel dresses
The material is very soft. It is easy to dress up or down. You can easily wear this dress when traveling.

We love pretty much all dresses from PrAna. They are quality items and cut well. Because they come in standard sizes, it’s easy to get a great fit when ordering online. PrAna is known for making some of the best travel dresses.

ExOfficio Sol Cool Dress

This dress from ExOfficio is a cute, versatile, sleeveless dress. You could wear it on the beach or put heels on, and go to a fancy restaurant. It comes in many different colors and patterns available which make it fun for traveling.

Plus, it wicks away moisture and has UPF protection of 50+. There’s even a small zippered security pocket on the right side. This dress is made from a blend of polyester and Spandex so it is easy to pack without wrinkling.

We have several pieces from ExOfficio, and they are all our go-to travel pieces. 

Best dress for traveling to hot climate: Toad&Co Sunkissed Swing Dress

This is one of the best travel dresses for hot climates. Had I realized how cute this dress would be, I would have ordered it in one of their brighter colors, like Deep Navy Bird Print and the Spiced Coral Bird Print.

Now that I see the dress in person and understand the fabric the upper portion is made of, I would have went for the bold color. Even the Spiced Coral, while not dark, is still a statement shade.

Even still, I do like my gray dress, officially called Smoke. This color is nice and neutral but for a one-piece outfit — a dress — I don’t need it to match anything so I should have went for bold.

So please order one of the Sunkissed Swing dresses with color.

I walk and hike in this dress. Once, I even swam in it. It doesn’t stretch like other fabrics. It’s a very versatile travel dress.

Like this brand’s travel skirts, you could order this same style dress in multiple colors and it wouldn’t look like you were wearing the same dress.

Great dress for traveling

It looks good with flip flops and sandals. It’s a very casual dress but has a very flattering cut. I tend toward dresses that aren’t form fitting. These are the travel dresses I wear much more often than form-fitting ones, which is why it’s one of my new favorites.

It has a flattering cut. I’ve gained and lost 10 – 12 pounds, and this dress still flatters me. The material is made with a quick-dry nylon (84% nylon and 16% Spandex). It’s super-easy to wear. It works for errands, restaurants, hikes, and other excursions.

This travel dress has two pockets — one on either side of the hip section. They are practical and not bulky in any way. The only downside to this dress is you can’t really dress it up or down. It wouldn’t look good with boots or heels. It’s strictly to keep you comfortable and cool in the heat.

I live in the very hot and dry southwest and this swing dress has been a lifesaver. I only wear skirts and dresses from May – October because it’s so hot. This Sunkissed Swing Dress works well across the seasons.

At first, I was surprised this travel dress wrinkled. It arrived folded, and it took a few hours on the hanger before the wrinkles disappeared. However, when I rolled it and put it in my suitcase and unpacked it, it didn’t have any wrinkles. So as long as you don’t fold it, it is great.

I asked Toad & Co. for this dress to review. They are a very eco friendly company, and I appreciate the efforts they make in sustainability.

Where to find the best travel dresses

We encourage thrift store shopping both before you go and while you’re there. One of my favorite sweaters is from thrift store in Ireland. However, we know that takes time and patience. When you are in the market for a particular piece of travel clothing it may be time-consuming to find just the right thing.

Maximize the time you spend in second-hand stores by always looking for travel clothing. Versatile travel pieces will

Check out the following: Best Travel Pants

Finding the best travel dresses

No matter your size, style or destination, there’s an amazing travel dress out there for you.

When you need to pack light and want your clothing to be appropriate in many situations, a dress designed for travel could fast become a staple in your travel wardrobe.

All of these travel dresses are made with great fabrics for traveling too.

Sometimes, before embarking on a trip, it’s nice to have a few new pieces to wear. This is especially true because we often get very tired of wearing the same things on a vacation. Yet, when I have a new dress or other clothing item, I’m excited to wear it again. We hope some of these will become your favorite travel dresses.

Best Travel Skirts for Women
Best Travel Dresses
Women’s Travel Shoe
Best Travel Pants for Women
Best Travel Jackets for Women
Best Travel Shorts for Women
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Tips for Buying Green Luggage for the Ultimate Eco-friendly Trip

Tips for Buying Green Luggage for the Ultimate Eco-friendly Trip

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Tips for buying green luggage – Depending on your travel habits, you may only bring out your luggage only a few times a year.

But when you do use it, it takes a beating.

We were gifted a set of luggage a few years ago, and it’s already falling apart.

We will do our best to repair it, but if we do need to buy a new bag we will be considering more environmentally friendly options.

Here are tips for buying green luggage so that you can conserve our planet while toting your belongings.

Luggage for kids

Luckily more companies are producing what they label as “eco luggage.”

For example, Patagonia has several bags made from recycled materials.

Heys luggage has a new set out, Eco Case, that’s made from 100% Recycled Plastic.

It even comes in the color green.

Kids carry-on luggage

Sierra Club has put their brand on luggage that is “eco friendly on several fronts.”

And finally, Eco Traveler sells a 2-piece carry on luggage set – made from hemp that’s PVC free.

While it’s great that companies are moving in this direction, there still aren’t a lot of green options available.

Because you will likely buy luggage that isn’t labeled as eco luggage, here are the features to look for in conventional luggage that will help ensure your bag is a little greener.

If you’re looking for lightweight luggage, check out our lightest luggage article.

Samsonite Winfield vs Samsonite Omni Carry On Luggage – Which Should You Choose?

tips for buying green luggage

Tips for buying green luggage

Weight of Bag

It’s surprising how much luggage weighs.

When we recently went to New Zealand my rolling carry-on didn’t meet the weight limits for carry on.

This wasn’t only because of what it contained, but because it was just a heavy bag, even empty.

When everyone’s empty bag weighs a few pounds, the result is too much energy being used just to transport the luggage.

When searching for green luggage, try to the bag that weighs less.

Size of Bag

The first rule of luggage size is to buy a bag that’s the right size for your purpose.

While we prefer that everyone pack light, we’d rather you buy a bigger bag that you’ll actually use.

Otherwise you’ll have to buy another bag.

The second rule of luggage size is to buy a smaller bag.

Why? Because the more space you have the more likely you’ll be to fill it with stuff you don’t need.

I prefer carry on sized luggage because it saves the environment because I’m transporting less, and it save me the bag checking fee.

I honestly don’t know time I packed my stuff in a non carry-on size bag.

Even when we went to Argentina for three months (or New Zealand for 10 days) I still just brought a carry on.

Expandable/Multipurpose Bag

Buying an expandable bag may seem to contradict my last recommended feature.

But, I have found that an expandable carry-on bag means that you actually have to own fewer pieces of luggage.

When you end up buying too many souvenirs or get an extra large holiday gift, expandable luggage comes in handy.

You can carry-on one way and check the bag on your return trip.

Bag Material

If you can, buy a bag that’s PVC free and/or made from recyclable materials.

Hemp or organic cotton are also great choices.

Durability

As I alluded to in my intro, cheap luggage often falls apart.

Buy a bag with good reviews, a good warranty, or a well known brand.

Make sure it feels sturdy.

You might pay a little bit more now, but you will save the earth and some money down the road by not having to buy new luggage every few years.

Luggage Repair

Last but not least, if you are in the market for some new green luggage, first ask yourself whether or not you can repair your current luggage.

If it’s just a broken zipper or wheel you can likely get your luggage repaired.

Luggage and bags are wonderful.

One of my favorite places to browse in a department store is the luggage section.

There are always new styles with fun compartments and nifty pockets.

But, I know the best tips for buying green luggage isn’t a tip at all.

It’s to continue to reuse by old luggage.

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set Showdown: Best Cookware Sets

Best Stainless Steel Cookware

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Given the popularity of our Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Smackdown and our recent commitment to covering green home issues, I wanted to write about a surprising and scary issue in the home: nonstick pans – so this post is about the best stainless steel cookware.

I used to be an avid lover of nonstick pans.

I adore eggs and nonstick coated cookware made my kitchen pans incredibly easy to clean.

But, nonstick coatings are unbelievably bad for you and the environment.

How bad?

So bad that the fumes can kill birds.

Check out this article and the references in it if you want to learn the specifics.

For instance, according to the article, “although an accurate national accounting of deaths is not available, in a single year [a]Chicago veterinarian documented 296 bird deaths in 105 cases involving non-stick cookware.

The problem with nonstick pans is something called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE.

The most well known brand is Teflon®.

The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

Now, I’m not one to be an alarmist, but I take my personal health very seriously.

At first, when Kimberly tried to convince me to throw out our nonstick Teflon pans I insisted that they were fine.

But I did a lot of research and eventually realized that nonstick is terrible.

The fact that the fumes can kill birds makes me think that nonstick may be even worse for you than BPA (the bad stuff in plastics and the reason to use stainless steel water bottles).

So, when we decided to purchase a new cookware set we researched different types of cookware.

Most professional chefs use copper or stainless steel cookware sets.

If they use these materials, why not us too?

But, our first stainless steel cookware set quickly broke.

The handles came loose and food didn’t cook easily.

The worst part about them was that the pans heated unevenly and were difficult to clean.

Luckily, for a wedding present we received an extremely nice stainless steel cookware set – All-Clad.

They pans have held up exceptionally well.

But more on that later.

Stainless Steel Cookware Set Comparison

To conduct our Stainless Steel Cookware comparison we have several different contenders.

We’ll discuss each one and the importance of their features

Contenders: Basic Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware Set, KitchenAid Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Celphalon stainless steel cookware set, All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Stainless Steel Cookware Set Features

You are probably asking yourself – isn’t all cookware created the same?

What’s the difference between these different brands of pans?

Critical differences in the pans’ features: Overall Construction

How sturdy are the pans?

Do they hold up well?

You want to buy pans that last.

Number of Layers

How many layers are there?

And what type of metal are they?

Generally you want 3 layers as this creates a more even distribution of heat which means the food cooks evenly.

Type of Lid

What type of lid is it – glass or stainless steel?

I prefer stainless steel as it’s unlikely to break if I accidentally drop it.

Other people prefer glass.

Made in USA

Is the pan made in the US or in China (or elsewhere)?

Many people have concerns about metal contaminants of non- American made products.

Induction

If you have an induction stove (you’ll know if you do) you need a pan that will allow for induction.

The reality is that the more you pay the better pan you will get.

How the Stainless Steel Cookware Stacks Up

The Intro Set (aka the Cheap Stuff)

The Excelsteel 7 piece Stainless Steel Cookware set with glass lids is a good intro kit.

It’s would be great for a college student or someone just starting out.

It doesn’t have some of the features that the more expensive pans have, but if you’re looking for a good cheap stainless steel cookware set – this is it.

The Middle of the Road

A middle of the road stainless steel cookware set that is good, but not excellent is the Kitchenaid 10-piece set.

However, these are not entirely stainless as they have silicone grips.

The 10 piece Cuisinart Classic Stainless Steel Cookware set.

It has 350 plus reviews and given that you get more pots and pans than Kitchenaid for the price, this is probably the best of the middle of the line.

It comes with stainless steel pan covers plus: 8- and 10-inch skillets; 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 3-1/2-quart sauté pan; and 8-quart covered stockpot.

Top of the Line

The following sets are the really high end stainless steel pans.

All of the following sets are tri-layered which means they will be sturdier and last longer.

I am providing more information about them because while they are more expensive, they will last longer.

Because they’ll last longer they are more sustainable and better for the environment.

All-Clad

We were lucky enough to get our All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware for a wedding present.

We’ve had the set for two years and it works amazingly well.

We have had no problems with the pans.

Save some discoloration that is common to all stainless steel.

While the most expensive of stainless steel cookware, All-Clad really does last a lifetime and in doing so reduces waste.

My aunt and uncle have had their same All-Clad set since they got married 30 years ago.

We also got an additional 8″ fry pan (great for eggs) and 12″ fry pan (perfect for larger meals).

All-Clad is made in the USA — mostly.

It seems that their lids as well as some appliances are made in China (and subject to thorough inspections and testing).

Their pots and pans are made from US supplied metal manufactures and bonded together at the Pennsylvania manufacturing facility.

Cuisinart MultiClad Pro

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 7 piece set.

But given that there is only 1 fry pan in the set you’ll likely want to buy a separate skillet.

Overall the Cuisinart gets better reviews than the Calphalon; but people who also owned All-Clad were mixed on whether or not they would buy the Cuisinart again.

Many said they noticed no difference.

A few people mentioned the pans felt lighter.

And they are made in China.

So if the price is more important to you and you are ok with a Chinese manufactured pan you will want to buy the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro.

Calphalon

Reviewers of the Calphalon seem to love it.

There are some complaints about customer service, the handles getting hot, and the fact that this cookware is made in China.

But overall people really like it.

A difference between this and All-Clad (other than the cost).

Is that All-Clad tops are Stainless steel and Calphalon are glass.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

Cleaning stainless steel pots and pans is a little more difficult than cleaning nonstick pans.

But, in two years since we’ve owned our All-Clad we haven’t had too many problems.

We recently learned about a product called “Bar Keeper’s Friend” (found at any retailer like Target or your local market.)

While not a green product, it is free of phosphates and does wonders for cleaning stubborn stainless steel stains.

We use it maybe once a month on our most frequently used pans to keep them sparkling.

Well, stainless steel does get discolored and stained.

But it doesn’t affect the use of the pans at all.

How to Make Stainless Steel Cookware Not Stick

I’ll be honest — ensuring that food doesn’t stick to stainless steel plans is an art.

It takes patience.

But, here’s the trick — make sure that the pan is hot x 2.

First, get the pan hot.

Second, get the oil/butter hot.

This doesn’t mean to turn the heat on high (for boiling water — sure, but not for sauces, eggs, etc).

Turn the heat on medium to medium low and let the pan get hot throughout.

Then add a little oil. Let the oil heat until it’s almost smoking.

If you tilt the pan the oil will spread and run like water.

Only once the pan is hot should you add the food you are cooking to it.

What about “Green” nonstick cookware?

You can buy nonstick cookware that is supposedly fine for you and doesn’t contain the same chemicals as the bird-killing nonstick pans do.

But honestly, I don’t fully trust these products.

I will stick to stainless steel because I know it’s safe.

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

I would buy the All-Clad cookware again in a heartbeat.

For made in America cookware that has a long track record and proven reputation you just can’t beat it.

However, given the high price of it, my second choice would be Cusinart multiclad.

What features do you look for in cookware?

Do you currently use nonstick pans?

Filtered Water Bottle Review

filtered water bottle review

Updated:

Filtered water bottle review – We get a lot of questions about stainless steel water bottles with filters, but until recently I hadn’t used a filtered water bottle review.

The folks at Eco Vessel were kind enough to send us a filtration water bottle to try out.

According to Eco Vessel, the blue water filtration bottle “removes up to 99.99% of pollutants.”

It’s also BPA-free, which I appreciate.

filtered water bottle review
filtered water bottle review

When to Use this Filtered Water Bottle Review

I would recommend using this bottle when you know you won’t have access to your own Brita or reverse osmosis filtered water which is why it is our top recommendation on this filtered water bottle review.

Hiking and Camping

This bottle would be great to use on extended hiking or camping trips where the water in streams is safe enough to drink, but might contain some pollutants.

I wish I’d had it when I was hiking in Patagonia.

The water there was fine, but even just removing the debris would have been a huge help.

Travel – Extended Travel

For extended trips where you’ll be traveling to places where the water is safe to drink, but potentially not tasty or totally clean, this filtration water bottle would be an excellent option.

At the Office

If your workplace doesn’t offer filtered water, this filtered water bottle would be a good choice for the office.

That way you can drink tap water and rest assured that the bulk of the pollutants are removed.

Working Out at the Gym

If you work out at a gym and are used to drinking out of the water fountain, this bottle is for you.

Fill the bottle up at the water fountain and drink it through the filter.

When to Choose A Filter-Free Bottle

For times you have access to filtered water, you won’t need to use this bottle.

And the filter inside makes it a little clunkier (and takes up space where water could be) so it’s not ideal for sports.

Everyday Use

If you’re at home or can fill up your bottle before you leave the house, you’re probably just as well off sticking with a traditional (filter-free) stainless steel water bottle.

Bike Ride

This bottle could work well for a bike ride, but I would prefer something a little less clunky with more room for water.

Travel – Short Trips

For shorter trips, especially those where you’ll likely have access to filtered water, you’ll probably want to bring a larger, filter-free bottle that you can refill.

How Does It Work?

According to the website, the Eco Vessel water filtration bottle uses an “Ionic-Adsorption Micro-Filtration system.”

I’m no expert on filtration systems, so I’m trusting that Eco Vessel’s system really does remove up to 99.99% of pollutants, as they claim.

Pros

Design

I like the contoured shape, which makes it easy and comfortable to hole in your hand.

It also comes with a cloth handle and caribeener, which I suppose could come in handy.

Filtered Water Without Hassle

For people on the go, this bottle is ideal.

Not everywhere you go will have filtered water, but if you have your filtered water bottle, you can create your own low-pollutant water.

Stainless Steel (and BPA-free)

If you’re a regular Go Green Travel Green reader, you know we’re big fans of stainless steel water bottles because they’re lightweight and don’t contain the nasty chemical BPA.

One of our favorites is the Klean Kanteen, but their water filter isn’t quite as compact and integrated as Eco Vessel’s.

Cons

Not Made in the USA

Although the filter is made in the USA, the bottle isn’t.

That’s not surprising, though, considering we have yet to find a stainless steel water bottle made in the US.

Clunky

Because of the filter inside, this bottle is a bit clunky, which might make it awkward for some athletic activities.

Summary

I would definitely recommend the Eco Vessel Blue Water Filtration Bottle to someone looking for an easy-to-use, compact filter water bottle.

The built-in filter makes it very portable and the contoured design makes it comfortable to carry.

I hope you find this filtered water bottle review helpful

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Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review

Women’s Shoes: KEEN Mary Jane Review

Keen Verona Mary Janes

Updated:

In my quest to find the best travel shoes, KEEN was kind enough to send me a pair of Verona Mary Jane women’s shoes to review.

They’re cute, comfortable, and make excellent travel shoes.

Learn more by reading our KEEN Mary Jane Review.

KEEN Mary Jane Review – the pros

Here’s what I like about these women’s KEENs.

Keen Comfort and Arch Support

The Verona’s are extremely comfortable.

They flex well and the arch support is better than average for a pair of Mary Janes, but not outstanding.

Strap

The top strap will keep your foot from slipping.

My feet tend to slip out of a lot of shoes.

An awesome feature is that the strap is padded!

That’s right, there is padding on the strap to keep you from getting blisters.

Toe Protector

The scuff protector on the front of the toe means that you can take on all your regular travel activities.

From hiking to running after a bus to climbing super steep stairs.

Without having to worry about ruining the front of your shoes.
Women's Shoes: KEEN Mary Jane Review

The Keen Company

KEEN as a company is very green.

They have a number of shoes that are made from recycled materials.

Though the Verona Mary Jane’s are not.

Room for Improvement – the cons

There are only two things that keep me from naming these the best travel shoe of all time.

I have yet to find those shoes.

For rain, snow or slush, I never like wearing leather shoes as I worry about ruining them.

For my feet I could have used a little more arch support.

Though, as I said before these shoes had better arch support than many other Mary Janes I’ve tried.

More about Keen Women’s Shoes and the Verona Mary Jane

I normally wear an 8.5 or 9 in nice shoes and a 9.5 in running shoes.

I received a pair of 9’s and they fit perfectly with winter socks on, but I might have gone for the 8.5 if I was looking for a summer shoe.

(Remember on there is free shipping, so, if you must you can always order 2 pairs and send 1 back.)

The Verona Mary Jane features:

  • Adjustable strap over instep
  • Full-grain leather upper
  • KEEN toe protection
  • Leather lining
  • Metatomical footbed

Keen classifies some of their shoe features as “Hybrid.Ologies” which means that the these features “eliminate anything that comes between you and your hybrid life.”

There is an internal support mechanism that is engineered to provide anatomically correct arch support.

There is also KEEN’s toe protection system in which the shoes’ outsoles wrap up and over the toes for ultimate protection.

Sydney versus the Verona

The Sydney is another extremely popular Keen Women’s shoe.

It’s nearly identical to Verona except the Sydney has microfiber lining.

The Sydney has moisture-wicking textile linings while the Verona mary jane has a Metatomical footbed Finally, the Verona Mary Jane looks a little nicer in terms of leather quality and colors.

Honestly, I’ve been looking for a pair of shoes like this for a long time.

They are shoes I will definitely pack whenever I travel.

They are nice enough looking to wear into even a fancy restaurant (given a nice pair of pants or cute dress).

But they are comfortable and casual enough for spending an entire day on my feet walking through the street of Florence.

Mary janes are timeless and classic.

We hope this KEEN Mary Jane review helped you see what we like about them.

Note: We will only recommend products or services that we believe, based on our experience, are worthy of endorsement.

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