Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Best for Airplane Rides

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Best for Airplane Rides and Life

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Whether your travel includes a family road trip, a business flight, or a day at the beach, ensure you are ready to enjoy the scenes but not the sounds.

Here are the best noise cancelling headphones to make sure you are not bothering your fellow travelers no matter where your travels take you.

Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic

We never heard of this brand but were thrilled with this product as it is considerably more affordable than other noise cancelling headphones with all the same features.

Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are exceptionally comfortable.

They eliminate background noises with super-soft ear cups.

The Plantronics technology offers up to 24 hours of listening while providing 330 feet of Bluetooth range, like all class 1 Bluetooth devices.

These work great for audiobooks, movies and music.

What’s great is that you don’t need to have the cord plugged in.

There are dual microphones built into these headphones so you can use Bluetooth for calls without any wire.

There is a cable for a physical connection, and using them both ways works well.

One minor complaint is while they fold flat, they don’t fold “up.”

Audio Technica Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones

With a design created around providing a hi-fidelity experience and noise reduction features that eliminate 90% of the background noise, it is easy to see why these noise cancelling headphones are on our list.

The ear cups are soft and flexible and the set folds flat for easy storage.

Ideal for traveling, these Audio Technica lightweight headphones include an adapter that is compatible with most airlines in-flight entertainment systems, meaning you can plug your headphones directly into the seat jack if you want to watch movies during flight.

They can’t quite duplicate the battery life of Bose, but 40 hours of entertainment is still a bargain.

Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

When it comes to sound, nobody beats Bose.

And when it comes to noise cancelling headphones, they even take the prize for the absence of sound, as Amazon’s customers have selected the Bose QuietComfort 15 as the top rated choice.

If you are planning to fly this year and want to sleep on the plane but seem to have difficulty falling asleep in a strange noisy place like a plane, these headphones can be your salvation.

Great for business travelers, they reduce noise across the spectrum, covering a number of frequencies.

The over-the-ear fit and comfort styling make them ideal for plane rides.

These must-have headphones can also act as a remote control for your iPod/iPhone and provide hands-free calling functionality.

With a 35 hour battery life and weighing barely more than half a pound, these headphones are worthy of the Bose name.

Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphone – Noise Canceling Headphones

Although you might not normally associate legendary rapper Dr. Dre with an absence of noise, who better than the “Master of Mixology” to create top rated headphones, even if they are as good at cancelling noise out as they are for letting you listen in.

In fact, by blocking the external noise, the Beats Studio wireless headphones bring more life to the music and allow the listener to hear is as the artist intended.

The over-the-ear style headphones are designed for comfort and focus on providing a balanced, full-depth music experience.

Compatible with iPod/iPhone, the built-in mic allows you to take calls effortlessly.

They weigh in at less than a pound.

Beats Studio headphones require two AAA batteries.

They come with a rugged case to protect your Beats wherever the music takes you.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best travel headphones

When you are looking for the best travel headphones and best noise-canceling headphone, you want to be sure it’s convenient to take with you.

It needs to be the ultimate travel companion.

These all are lightweight and collapsible.

They also all offer a long battery life.

These offer a flexible ear-cup designs to ensure a comfortable fit for any face.

These noise cancelling headphones are excellent at blocking out low frequency noise like automobiles and airplane engines.

They offer a good value.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your music and movies without disturbing anyone around you with these best travel headphones.

Your fellow travelers will thank you for using noise cancelling headphones.

Then enjoy them in other situations “on land” as well in noisy situations.

They will be great to use when mowing the lawn.

Using Your Cell Phone when traveling:

How do I use my cell phone while traveling to Asia

Best Portable DVD Player Review for Travel

portable-dvd-player-for-travel

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Best Portable DVD Players – Every year, families across the country pile into their cars or get on planes to set out, see the sights, and participate in that time honored tradition – the family vacation.

One of the most popular diversions for kids on a long trip, are the best portable DVD players for travel that helps keeps kids entertained.

Check out these top-rated portable DVD players that are tailor-made to ease the trials and tribulations of traveling, no matter how far you have to go.

Best Portable DVD Players for Travel Reviews

Coby 7-Inch Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player

This full featured DVD player also doubles as a CD player and an MP3 player.

The 7-inch screen offers a clear, concise picture and is just the right size to make viewing easy without losing portability.

Don’t forget the headphones, which easily plug into the unit, so your daughter can watch The Princess and the Frog over and over without you having to listen in.

It weighs less than 3 pounds and can easily be handled by children as well as teens.

With a family-friendly price, this deal can’t be beat.

We bought it for a trip but now use it primarily for home.

Our preschools can safely operate it to watch their videos.

We have taken it with us for road trips and for airplane rides but our primary use has been to use it at home.

Which our kids do almost daily!

Sylvania 13.3-Inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player with USB/SD Card Reader

Before we ever considered buying a portable DVD player for travel, we wanted one for home.

We donated our DVD player years before having kids.

After having kids, we found that sometimes we (or they) wanted to watch a video.

We were out of luck until we found this portable DVD player by Sylvania.

The 13.3 inch screen makes it much larger than traditional portable DVD players so we can view it from farther away than our laps.

Several people can watch it at once, and we all see it fine.

Our kids mostly use the Coby (above), so we (the adults) use this for watching movies elsewhere in our home.

We’ve also taken it on trips to a relative’s cabin where there isn’t internet.

The kids gather around at night to watch DVDs while the parents relax without worrying about them.

There is great picture quality and resolution.

We are also very happy with the sound which comes from the two internal speakers.

It also comes with earbuds.

The buttons are straightforward and easy to navigate.

It is very lightweight and is convenient for travel.
best Portable DVD Players

RCA Twin Mobile DVD Players

Similar in form and function to the Philips dual player, this RCA mobile DVD player comes with two separate remotes.

Ensure no one will fight over the remote controls!

Both players can be mounted on the back of a car headrest and have a 7-inch LCD screen.

Each unit has separate built-in speakers while the headphones or earbuds can be plugged into the convenient jack for quiet enjoyment.

The package includes A/C adapters and car adapters for both units.

This will enable you to split the two players up, using one it the car and one in the house.

You can even use them in two different locations while traveling.

All in all, these twin players are double the fun.

If your son wants to watch a different movie than your daughter or your hubby is into action and you are craving romance, each of you can watch your own movie since the player can play the same movie for both screens or a separate movie on each.

It is lightweight and stores easily.

It is almost like getting a two for one deal.

Sylvania 13.3-Inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player with USB/SD Card Reader

This portable DVD player has a 13.3-inch screen.

We bought this Sylvania large screen DVD player after our beloved Coby 7-inch — after hundreds (maybe thousands?) hours of use — played its last video.

It had a good run but we wanted a larger screen because most of the time we found ourselves used the DVD player for home use much more than for traveling.

When we all squish together on the coach to watch a video, we have definitely enjoyed this larger screen.

It has good resolution and sound.

It takes a little over three hours to fully charge.

There’s a green light so you know when it’s charged.

Our kids can watch DVDs for about two and a half hours before we plug it in again.

Sylvania Portable DVD Player 7-Inch, Swivel Screen

For the price, this is one of the best portable DVD players around.

This model from Sylvania is easy to tote, and its no-nonsense price will make you happy too.

It’s another one of the smaller ones, with a 7-inch screen, yet it includes all the bells and whistles of the more expensive competitors, including the swivel screen.

We’ve taken this with us in the car 12 – 15 times and found it easy to use with the standard plug and car lighter adapter.

We’ve gotten between 4 – 5 hours of use on a charge, depending if we fully charged it before using it.

The only thing that we might be critical of is the tote bag it comes with.

It doesn’t offer any padding or protection.

Best portable DVD players for travel

These portable DVD players can also be a treasure for business travelers, retirees and moms and dads on the go.

They would make a great addition to a summer cottage or house boat.

They are great for use at home for relaxing or during an illness or recovery.

Our kids love using it for watching movies at home.

No matter your budget, these are the best portable DVD players available.

What’s best for you?

A 13.3 inch screen or one that is 7 or 9 inches?

Get one for your next trip and get through the stress of traveling easier.

It will keep the kids entertained for hours while you get to finally read that book you’ve been carrying around.

It may even help preserve your sanity when you’re stuck in the airport or on the tarmac.

Please all the kids in the backseat or on the plane with this one while the adults enjoy some quiet time!

Whether you plan to use it in the car or in an airplane, you will be so glad you bought one.

Energy Monitor Review of Belkin and Kill A Watt

Belkin Conserve Insight Review

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Energy monitor review – While I have good intentions, I am still guilty of leaving gadgets plugged in when they don’t need to be.

I charge my phone all night and my computer all day and leave the TV plugged in all of the time.

I thought about trying an energy monitor to see how high my household energy consumption was.

Read on for an energy monitor review of Belkin and Kill A Watt products, and how they’ve already made an impact on our energy consumption.

I’m always looking for ways to decrease my environmental impact at home.

I recycle and compost, use the A/C sparingly, and turn the lights off when I leave a room.

I’ve replaced every bulb in my house with an LED one when possible.

Even more, I try to run my dishwasher and washing machine at night during the extreme seasons in the Midwest, in July-August and January-February.

I do it in other months as well if I can.

Still, I knew there were more easy ways to save money on my electric bills.

Energy monitor review

Here are the latest and most practical electricity-saving gadgets I tested.

Belkin Conserve Insight review

The Belkin Conserve Insight is an energy monitor that’s incredibly easy to use.

You plug it into the wall, then plug your appliance of choice into the Insight, and you’ll have an energy reading in a matter of minutes.

The display is easy to read.

The Insight can help you prioritize appliance purchases.

How bad is that 30 year old refrigerator, really?

It will even show you the energy usage difference between, say, a lamp with a CFL bulb and the same lamp with an incandescent one.

You can see the results measured in dollars, watts, and CO2 emissions.

You can also use the Cost Tracking Feature to track energy usage of a certain appliance over time to give you a better idea of how much energy you’re using on a longer-term basis.

Conserve Insight is a smart investment for any environmentally conscious household and those who want to save money on their electric bills.

energy monitor review
Belkin Conserve Insight

Kill A Watt review

The P3 P4400 Kill A Watt is available at an unbelievably low price for all it does.

It’s easy to use and like the Belkin, I found it incredibly fun to use as well.

It is interesting to see how efficient — or not — you and your electrical appliances really are.

I like this because it gives you a way to cut down on what are usually considered “fixed costs.”

You can actually make a difference in your energy bill!

We all know it is a pain to go around plugging and unplugging appliances.

What’s great now is that you can easily find out which appliances are okay and “worth” being plugged in and which are energy guzzlers that you should unplug if you can.

I would loved to have received this as a gift.

It’s easy to figure out your electrical expenses for the year, month, week, or by the day.

It is wonderful for high-energy users like refrigerators and air conditioners too.

Find out how efficient they are and whether it makes sense to invest in a new one.

Belkin Conserve Socket review

This isn’t really an energy monitor, but it’s in the same category of products.

Work to save money on your energy costs.

I might love the Belkin Conserve Socket.

While the energy monitor tells me how much an electrical item is using, this product helps me to do something about it.

It’s so simple to use, yet it has the potential to conserve so much energy.

To use the socket, you simply plug it into an outlet, plug your appliance of choice into the Socket, and set the timer for 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours.

After the designated time, the Socket turns off and your appliance automatically stops drawing electricity from the outlet.

I use the Socket all of the time when I’m charging my phone or computer, but it would also be great for people who rush out the door in the morning and forget to turn off the toaster oven or curling iron.

If you plug your appliance in and set it for 30 minutes, it will turn off even if you forget to unplug it.

For under $20, you can make your home more sustainable and safer.

energy monitor review
Belkin Conserve Socket

Why get a power monitor

There really aren’t many ways you can deliberately save money on major ongoing household bills, and utility bills can really be high, especially at certain times of the year if you don’t live in a temperate climate.

Here’s a real chance to do something about them.

You don’t have to be at the mercy of your appliances and the electric company!

After reading this energy monitor review you can see how gadgets like these are long overdue in the US.

Now they’re widely available, easy to use, and inexpensive.

And they’re fun.

I would recommend them to everyone looking for easy ways to reduce their environmental impact.

They are affordable, and they can end up saving you money on your energy bills.

They make great gifts too.

Now I just need to get some solar panels, and I’ll be all set!

Best Organic Laundry Detergents ~ Here’s What to Know

dropps green laundry detergent

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Organic Laundry detergent – It is easy to overlook when you’re taking steps to be greener; laundry detergents in its own category.

It’s not quite a personal care product like toothpaste and deodorant, but it’s also not a cleaning product like a floor or toilet bowl cleaner.

We are always looking to eliminate toxins and pollutants from our homes.

What is something to consider when looking for the best green laundry detergents?

Know that laundry detergents and soaps can contain ingredients that are harmful to your health.

It is important to consider that you’re exposed to them every day through the clothes you wear.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in organic laundry detergent because, as with cleaning products, companies aren’t required to tell consumers what’s in them.

When there are products that you use often, it is worth considering paying a bit more to be sure they are as safe as they can be.

Learn more here by reading Organic Laundry Tips to Save Energy and Money and Top Green Cleaning Products

Tips for finding organic laundry detergents

  1. Avoid detergents with chemical fragrances and perfumes (avoid dryer sheets, too).
  2. Seek out a detergent brand that lists its chemicals, or stick with a green brand you trust.
  3. Skip detergents that might contain phosphates (harmful to waterways after use), parabens (hormone disruptors), and nonylphenol ethoxylate (endocrine disruptor).
  4. Make sure the bottle or box you buy is recyclable and, preferably, recycled.
  5. Check the amount you need to use per wash. Using less is always better.

Review of best green laundry detergents

We always prefer unscented detergents, whenever possible.

Unfortunately, most companies include scents which mean more chemicals.

Rain Laundry Detergent & Organic Fabric Softener:

For those with skin disorders or with children, this may be your best bet.

Rain’s Laundry Detergent is actually 100% detergent free.

Your children’s glands won’t absorb the enzymes from their towels after showering — when pores are open — and from their clothing — when sweating — found in traditional detergents.

Everything in this product is sourced from USA too!

best green laundry detergents

Dropps:

Dropps sent us samples of the scent / dye free and the fresh scent detergents.

Dropps are phosphate free, NPE-free, and chlorine free.

It is made of “biodegradable plant-based surfactants (anionic and nonionic)” according to the ingredient list.

Because they come in “toss-and-go” packs there is no jug to recycle; though the plastic packaging does need to be thrown in the garbage.

Lastly, they were recognized for safer chemistry by the EPA.

Overall, we found Dropps worked quite well for cleaning our laundry.

We definitely preferred the scent-free over their “fresh scent” line as it was a little overpowering.

But know we are biased in that we don’t like scents!

BUY DROPPS HERE

Trader Joe’s Laundry Detergent:

We have used the Trader Joe’s Liquid Laundry Detergent for several years.

It has a lavender scent that has just enough fragrance without being overpowering.

The detergent works well for day-to-day use, but for tougher stains non-green detergents do a better job.

Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Premium Laundry Detergent:

Costco’s laundry detergent is phosphate-free, dye-free, and perfume-free.

What’s more, the container is made from 25% or more recycled materials.

Vaska Laundry Detergent:

This brand of detergent contains plant-based surfactants and conditioners, lavender extract and filtered water.

It does not contain: “NPE’s carcinogenic ingredients, chlorine, phosphates, petroleum products, alcohol, optical brighteners, synthetic scents, animal ingredients, EPA priority pollutants, or materials listed by ACGIH as hazardous.”

Makes you wonder what’s in your detergent – doesn’t it?

How to make your own laundry soap

There is always the option of making your own laundry detergent.

It is like baking a cake or bread from scratch: You will know exactly what is in it.

With some simple washing soda, Borax (which is made from naturally-occurring ingredients) and an unscented and natural bar of soap, you can be on your way to a more environmentally-friendly and green laundry detergent.

Living more green

For more information on environmentally friendly and eco living:

Green Spring Cleaning Checklist: 8 Tips for Your Home
What Makes a Home Eco

The best green laundry detergents don’t necessarily cost more and you will have less irritants and toxins in your home and on your skin.

It’s a good idea to research on the Good Guide to learn more about the laundry detergent in your home.

Green Laundry Tips to Save Energy and Money

Since the new year, I’ve been doing my best to live green according to my top resolutions for green moms.

I’ve cut several energy-wasting activities from my daily routine, but laundry remains my nemesis.

With a family of five (including three growing boys who all play sports daily!), large quantities of laundry will be a reality for me for the foreseeable future.

Laundry is probably a reality in yours as well.

While household laundry can’t be avoided, there are ways to reduce energy, water-consumption, and reduce your environmental impact with the following five green laundry tips.

Best Green and Organic Laundry Detergent and Top Green Cleaning Products

Green Laundry Tips: Use Green Detergent

Yes, it’s more expensive, but eco-friendly laundry detergent helps more than just the environment.

The chemical-free stuff is gentler on kids’ skin, too.

The best, including my top three below, are free of dyes and scents (who needs it?) and utilize smaller packaging than most.

When selecting eco-friendly laundry detergent, search for the best ones by looking at what they don’t contain instead of what they do contain.

Laundry detergent manufacturers are not required by law to disclose their ingredients, so you’re likely to see vague ingredient lists instead of a run-down of harmful chemicals.

Look on the label for companies disclosing good things instead: what eco-claims they make.

Curious how your laundry detergent ranks?

Invest in spin dryer

During research for this article, I tested out an eco-friendly spin dryer from Laundry Alternative.

Approximately half the size of a traditional dryer, the spin dryer works in only 2-3 minutes, using far less energy for an average load.

It’s compact and gentler on clothes than your regular dryer, and has a pretty decent capacity given its size (13.8 pounds of wet laundry).

How the spin dryer works (and helps the environment):

You fill it with wet clothes, either straight from your washer or after a short cycle in your regular dryer.

You plug it in (uses a conventional 110V outlet).

You close the lid and watch the water drain out of the bottom.

You’ll want to place a small bowl or other item to catch the water on the floor.

In 2-3 minutes, you retrieve your clothes, which will be mostly dry.

They’ll still need to dry a bit more hanging in the closet or dry them in the regular dryer for a short time.

During a normal laundry cycle in my house, it takes me approximately 9 minutes to dry the clothes from my washer using the spin dryer (about three spin dryer loads from one washer load).

Then they all get tossed into the regular dryer for a shorter 20 minute cycle.

At that point, they’re completely dry.

The upside: I’m taking it easier on my clothes, and I’m saving energy.

The downside: I now have an extra step to take during my laundry chore.

Note: Laundry Alternative also has a travel-sized spin dryer, which works much like swim suit dryers do in upscale locker rooms.

It’s perfect for taking on the road in an RV or while camping, though would be too cumbersome to bring during air travel or short trips.

Skip the dryer altogether

If you have outdoor space and sunshine, you can use a spin dryer solo (without the traditional) or skip the dryer altogether.

Yes, you can hang your clothes outside like your grandma did, on a line.

I’ve seen this done more and more often in my Oregon neighborhood, and will consider it when the rain stops.

You can buy a clothesline for under $50.

Do less laundry!

Is it really dirty?

I ask my kids this all the time, after they’ve tossed a shirt into the laundry bin after wearing it for 15 minutes.

Now, most of the time, my boys’ clothes are as muddy and sweaty as you’d expect, but I’ve been teaching them to conserve on the laundry front when possible.

This means that items that don’t get very dirty, like pajamas, get two wears (or more) before going into the drum, and jackets and gloves are set out to dry instead of being tossed in the dryer.

Use energy-efficient appliances

You don’t have to use an eco-friendly dryer alternative to conserve energy.

Everyone knows to look for the Energy Star logo, but when shopping for a new washer or dryer, it also helps to know the following:

Top loading washers are less energy-efficient and use more water.

Stainless steel tubs can withstand faster spinning, which means shorter washing and drying times.

It’s better to buy a moderately-priced front loader than the highest end top-loader.

Environmentally Friendly and Eco living:

Environmentally Friendly Green Furniture
Green Spring Cleaning Checklist: 8 Tips for Your Home
What Makes a Home Eco

What do you do to keep your laundry practices eco-friendly?

Share your green laundry tips!

Photo credit: slgc and seanfreese.

Lightweight Luggage Reviews – Lightest Luggage To Save Your Back

Eagle Creek Flip Switch - lightweight luggage reviews

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Lightweight Luggage Reviews – Looking for the lightest luggage on the planet?

Look no further, we’ve rounded up all the best lightweight luggage reviews.

With airlines charging steeper fees for luggage, every pound counts.

Remember, heavier luggage takes a toll on your body too.

Oftentimes, many pieces of empty luggage are extremely heavy.

Many styles, especially with wheels, can weigh up to 12- 15 pounds empty!

Light Luggage for kids

Lightest Carry On Luggage Reviews

Generally, the smaller your piece of luggage the lighter it’s going to be.

Therefore, to keep the LightWeight Luggage Reviews standardized we are only looking at the larger size rolling suitcases that are carry-on size.

These are usually 22” luggage pieces.

Eagle Creek Flip Switch - lightweight luggage reviews
Eagle Creek Flip Switch

Lightest carry on luggage bags currently on the market:

Atlantic Ultra Lite 22” Carry-On

This is recommended as the lightest luggage.

Having carried the Atlantic for years, their Ultra Lite bags are stellar.

If you want a fully functional lightweight piece of luggage, this is the bag you should buy (check price here).

The Atlantic Ultra Lite 22” carry-on weighs a little more at 6.5 pounds.

But it’s a little less skimpy than the other bags.

It has great pockets (both inside and out), and it wheels around the airport well, and it doesn’t feel cheap.

Having handles on all sides is a huge plus for lifting into overhead bins.

I took this bag with me on a 10 day trip to Australia as my only bag.

It fit everything and traveled well, even through pouring rain.

GoLite TraveLite Wheeled Carry-On

The GoLite Travelite Wheeled Carry-on weighs 5.1 pounds and it is a 21” carry-on.

Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 2 22″ Expandable Rollaboard

The Travelpro Luggage Maxlite rollaboard is a great option for a lightweight carry-on.

It measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and weighs 6.4 lbs.

It’s a bit pricier at just over $100, but is high quality and will last a long time.
travelpro maxlite lightweight luggage

Lightest Luggage Sets

If instead of a single bag you’re looking for a light weight luggage set, here are some of the lightest luggage sets currently on the market.

Samsonite Lightweight Mobility Set

Samsonite Lightweight Mobility 3 PC Set has 3 pieces weighing a combined total of 28 pounds.

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

Calpak Club 3 Piece Lightest Luggage Set

The CalPak KLUB 3 Piece Hardside Spinner Set Black – Hardside Luggage set has a hard protective case and weighs 25 pounds for $165.

That’s pretty light and a great price.

International Traveler IT 2

The International Traveller IT–2 Worlds Lightest Side Bound Luggage Set Red – Luggage Sets weighs a combined total of just 23 pounds for 4 pieces of luggage which is pretty amazing.

Which Light Weight

Here are the factors you should consider in determining which lightest luggage is best:

Lightweight luggage reviews

Which ones are best?

(check prices here) I personally reviewed the Atlantic bag (above) and found it perfect for my use. nice looking, frequent traveler, also good for business.

But all of the links above also link to other reviews – so confirm that others like it before you by.

Luggage Weight

Obviously the luggage weight matters.

But is an extra pound lighter going to be worth the lack of warranty or stability that might come with it?

Look for the lightest luggage that has the features you want.

Lightest Suitcase Color

Don’t buy a black back.

Seriously, you will never be able to find it in the luggage carousel at the airport.

Instead opt for a color that you like. You will be so glad you did.

Lightest Suitcase Size

Size of carry-on bags matter.

You don’t want to get a bag too small because then it won’t fit enough stuff.

You also don’t want a bag that won’t fit in the overhead.

Any of the bags listed above as being carry-on size will fit in a overhead bin.

I like to go larger because then I can fit enough in for a multiple week trip.

There’s also the option of carrying on a backpack.

Lightweight luggage reviews

What is the lightest luggage you’ve ever owned?

It’s less taxing on your body and on your transportation and on our planet when you think light and pack light.

Using lightweight luggage reviews will help you find the best lightweight luggage. Kids carry-on luggage

And remember, packing less stuff means toting less around.

It’s also less to unpack, manage, repack and keep tabs on.

Pack light! How to Pack Lighter and Smarter For Traveling

Tips for buying green luggage

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

Updated:

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.

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?

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

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

Updated:

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.