Greennii’s Blog, and Guide to Green Lifestyle Choices Has Moved!

Image by Steve Broyles from http://www.sandcruiser.com

Find us now at The Green Extract (www.thegreenextract.com)!

Same fabulous content, same format, just a different host and a new name and logo! From now on, we are The Green Extract and we can be found at www.thegreenextract.com.

 

Please change your bookmarks and if you are following this blog or are a subscriber, “unfollow” or “unsubscribe” and refollow/subscribe on the new blog. Look forward to seeing you there!

-Jocelyn Broyles

New Zodiac Sign or I’m NOT A Taurus

Image from Wikipedia Commons

Seems like someone discovered a new Zodiac sign today. And for those of you who think Zodiac news isn’t green, what could be more green than a totally reusable personality that doesn’t need to be washed, thrown away or purchased?

I wondered (probably like some of you) if this has something to do with the whole Mayan-2012-calendar-the-world-is-changing thing. I did some research to help ease your questioning minds.

Name: Ophiuchus

Number: The 13th Sign (Methinks some folks will find this daunting, if not outright bad luck and witchery).

New Information: We all know the earth has shifted a bit on its axis, and this in turn has caused a shift in where the sun is in the sky in relation to the calendar dates we’re all used to. Parke Kunkle, an astronomer and Minnesota Planetarium Society member, noticed that zodiac signs should change accordingly.

Noteworthy NBC Wisdom: NBC attests that the different signs shouldn’t affect horoscope readings. That info from The Huffington Post (and one assumes, NBC). I wonder though, how that’s possible. In fact, the whole thing makes me take pause and think about the actual irrelevance of time, but that long-winded dialogue is for another post.

New Dates:
Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18 – May 13
Taurus: May 13 – June 21
Gemini: June 21 – July 20
Cancer: July 20 – Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10 – Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16 – Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30 – Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23 – Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29 – Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17 – Jan. 20

From the conversation that ensued while my husband and I looked at the new dates:
Jocelyn: So they basically just stuck in an extra sign between November and December.
Steve: Well, but it messes up other dates as well.
Jocelyn: Not really…
Steve: No look, it’s all teens and tens instead of twenties.
Jocelyn: No it’s not, Gemini is still 21 through 20.
Steve: But that’s in June and you’re a Taurus now.
Jocelyn: No I’m not.
Steve: Yes you are.
Jocelyn: Dude. No I’m not. I’m still a Gemini. I’m not a Taurus.
Steve: You’re acting pretty stubborn right now.
Jocelyn: Oh, the dates do say I’m a Taurus. But dude, I’m definitely not a Taurus.

-Jocelyn Broyles

How Does A Wind Turbine Work And Can I Have One For My Birthday?

I don’t know about you, but I love the word turbine. It speaks of great, enormous machines, capable of moving vast quantities of something-or-other, and to me, have an unapproachability that makes them sexy. Kind of like the tall lanky outsider who comes to class in the middle of the quarter and never talks.

I used to work at the UCLA co-gen plant, albeit as an office-manager type person, but I did get to tour around the big co-generation plant and the engineers there would explain to me how things were working. Being the young, starry-eyed, English-major that I was, most of it went in one ear and out the other, as I wondered if my hazel-eyed, alt-rock listening, musician-on-the-side tour guide was going to ask me out. (He did, and he turned out to be fabulously brilliant, a feel-it-in-your-knees kisser and far too sweet and normal for me at 21.)

Downtown Santa Cruz, Costa Rica Image from http://www.sandcruiser.com

But I digress (do you see why I think turbines are sexy?). So, in later years, as I began to immerse myself in all sorts of alternative choices – from moving to Costa Rica to composting to not owning a TV or clothes dryer – my husband also began to immerse himself in alternative fuels. At the same time, we made frequent trips

to our nearest biggish town, Santa Cruz (not to be confused with the fabulous, seaside Santa Cruz here in California). The road to said town was bumpy, rough, potholed dirt and gravel, but had some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen in my lifetime – great, sweeping open spaces of forest and cattle land; soft hills that turned into layered mountain ranges, huge trees who’s canopies dripped with ripe mangoes, no buildings or people for as far as your eyes could see, swirling dust and hot humid air. Amidst these views, close to the road, was one fabulously solitary windmill. I fell in love with this windmill and have wanted one ever since.

I am quite sure that the simple country windmill of my Santa Cruz trips is not what I’d get if I invested in my own personal wind turbine, but this morning I decided it was time to find out.

So what is a wind turbine anyway?

1. From Princeton:
Noun
(n) turbine (rotary engine in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted into mechanical energy by causing a bladed rotor to rotate)

2. From Wikipedia: A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.

The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and impart rotational energy to the rotor. Early turbine examples are windmills and water wheels.

3. From Wiktionary:

Noun: turbine (plural turbines) 1. any of various rotarymachines that use the kinetic energy of a continuousstream of fluid (a liquid or a gas) to turn a shaft

4. From Tuition.com: Turbine – a rotary motor driven by a flow of water, steam or wind to produce electrical energy.

 

My first question is answered! My windmill IS a type (albeit old-fashioned) of wind turbine! This is such great news! So, now that we (I) know what a turbine is, what exactly is a wind turbine?

Wind Turbine definition from Wikipedia (what ever did we do before Wiki?):

A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or pumping water, the device is called a windmill or wind pump.

And finally, how can this be applied to my house to help save energy?

Well, if you’re this guy, you can build your own and fabricate a system to not only harvest the energy, but to transfer it into useful power for your home. If you’re not that brilliant, you can purchase a system and installation (rather like you would with solar) from several different companies including Skystream Energy, and WindSpot, or you can sift through My Wind Power System and find a system that works for you.

As for me, I think I’m going to see if I can’t talk my husband (he is, in fact, brilliant enough to build a windmill and convert the energy it makes into useful energy in our home) into building me one that looks a little old fashioned and a lot like the one on the road to nowhere.

2010 In Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 30 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 31 posts. There were 239 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 37mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 23rd with 83 views. The most popular post that day was Green Your Thanksgiving: Organic Brined Turkey and Organic Thanksgiving Recipes .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were greennii.com, facebook.com, linkedin.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, and obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for greennii, beer brined turkey, thanksgiving, beer brine turkey, and california made green products.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Green Your Thanksgiving: Organic Brined Turkey and Organic Thanksgiving Recipes November 2010
1 comment

2

Green Your Thanksgiving! Buy a truly organic, free range turkey from Barbarosa Ranchers. Here’s why. November 2010

3

Green Your Halloween Fête October 2010

4

Home For The Holidays: California-Made Vodka, Gin, Rum and Whiskey To Help Make It Go Down Smoothly December 2010

5

Comment and Win $100 of Green Products! August 2010
9 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

Energy Efficiency For The New Year

I’ve had lots of people ask me in the last couple of weeks how they can start being more green, start being more energy efficient, in the new year.

It seemed logical to not only answer them, but to share those answers with you all.  As it turns out, making your house and your lifestyle more energy efficient is actually pretty easy. It takes some changing of lightbulbs, and a few changing of habits, but it’s not nearly as hard as foregoing sugar and wheat, as one of my friends is doing this year, bless her heart. I might actually waste away to nothing without my two major food groups.

But back to energy efficiency:

1. Change those lightbulbs – but no need to take out perfectly good incandescent bulbs, just change them when they burn out and change them to CFL (compact flourescent) or LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.

2. Weather-proof your doors and windows, or replace old double-hung windows with new double-pane versions. There are manufacturers of new, up-to-code double-hung, double-pane windows out there. Weatherproofing is easier and weatherstripping can be purchased at your local hardware store. We bought enough to do our 1,000 square-foot apartment for under $50.

City lights from Space. Image from http://www.urbancom.blogspot.com

3. Turn off lights when you leave the room. I know, this sounds like such old news, but it’s easy to leave lights on all over the place.

4. Hang-dry your clothes. I have to admit, I thought this was the biggest pain in the neck when I first moved to the tropics and didn’t have a washing machine, much less a dryer (and there were no laundromats – we didn’t even have electricity on Tuesdays and Thursdays). But, once I had a dedicated clothes line, I found stepping outside and seeing the day (cloudy, brilliantly clear, windy, still as holding your breath), taking time to breathe and stretch as I hung each piece, was a welcome 10-minute respite from bench-work and the computer. One of my most favorite things was hanging clothes in the moonlight. There is nothing like rustling palms, a warm breeze, gazillions of stars, music from far off in the distance and only the light of the moon to see by. For one night (and I was lucky to have many) of that experience I would hang-dry my clothes for a lifetime.

5. If you’re remodelling, or have a pre-1995 major appliance, go with ENERGY STAR. You’ll save money and energy. Check out Recurve for rebate information.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Green New Year’s Resolutions or Resolutions to Green Your 2011

I am a big fan of New Year’s Day, so tonight I’ll likely be doing something pretty chill that includes some bubble bath mentioned in my list of alternative things to do for NYE, some bubble liquid, and an early bedtime.

My big plan tomorrow is to take the doggies to the beach, rain or shine, no matter how cold it is. It won’t be quite the same as waking up on New Year’s Day on a deserted beach and jumping au-naturel into the warm waters of the tropical Pacific, but there is no joy like that of dogs frolicking in the sand.

I am also a big fan of resolutions, though I tend to make mine whenever I feel change is needed in my life, rather than on January 1. But in honor of all those out there making lists, I thought I’d make my own this year and share it with you.

1. I resolve to be less judgmental: of people, of situations, of myself.

2. I resolve to be more kind: to strangers, to my family and friends, to the air that I breath and the water I drink.

3. I resolve to donate time and energy: to at-risk youth, to helping others realize joy in small things, to saving animals and ourselves from ourselves.

4. I resolve to use my voice: to be kind, to show love, to sing, to write and to instigate change towards more earth-friendly (and therefore human-friendly) lifestyle choices.

5. I resolve to use less, buy less and waste less.

My resolutions, written off the cuff but with great care, just for this post, turned out to be more existential and less practical than I expected. So here is a list of more easily applicable resolutions to Green your 2011:

1. Buy recycled-content (post-consumer content) toilet paper.

2. Stop buying paper towels.

3. Replace all soaps and detergents in your house with earth-friendly, biodegradable detergents and soaps. I like Opas Soaps, Dr. Bronner’s, Method, BioKleen and Seventh Generation.

4. Shop at you local farmer’s market.

5. Use green dry cleaners when you have to dry clean.

6.  Use all-natural and organic skin care products. My favorites are homemade, but there are some wonderful brands out there doing good green stuff: EO Products, Kiss My Face, Lily Organics, Noli n’ Nali, Sumbody.

7. Buy organic and local using Local Harvest’s zip search and database.

Image of comic taken from http://www.uclaradio.com

8. Compost! Home composters are affordable and fun (and contrary to popular belief, they don’t stink). It’s amazing how much waste you can save from the landfill. Greennii likes Nature Mill and Nature’s Footprint.

9. Hang-dry your clothes – you don’t even have to do it all the time, even once a week helps! It’s especially quick and easy here in Northern California where it’s relatively dry. Ideas from Eco Housekeeping, Gaiam and Urban Clotheslines.

10. Reuse or give away something you were about to put in the garbage.

Happy New Year! May it be filled with peace, tranquility and joy.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Green Your New Year’s Eve

With Christmas a few days behind us, fab new eco-products in our closets, kitchens and garages, and New Year’s Eve just ahead, here are our recommendations for a Green New Year’s Eve:

If you’re throwing your own party:

1. Use glassware instead of plastic. No one likes to drink out of plastic anyway. Inexpensive glasses can be picked up at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or Saint Vincent de Paul‘s, or new from Crate and Barrel (who is having an up to 50% of winter clearance sale), Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. Store these glasses with your Holiday decorations and pull them out each year when you throw a big party – reusable and beautiful!

2. Cloth napkins instead of paper. Again, these can be purchased just about anywhere that carries household items, or if you’re really crafty and have oodles of time on your hands you can make your own. If you’re Martha Stewart material, you could even personalize them for each of your guests. Me, I just use white linen. If you have to go paper, use 100% post consumer, non bleached paper products.

3. Use LED lights when you’re decorating.

4. Set up a carpool or hire a van to ferry guests to and from.

5. When you’re ready to clean up, use eco-friendly soap like Biokleen, Method or Seventh Generation and compost all your food, paper and biodegradble garbage.

If you’re going out:

1. Use public transportation or carpool to your event.

2. Drink locally made wines or liquor.

3. Eat at a local, family owned restaurant and order organic.

4. Skip the plastic water bottle – bring your own reusable, or if you have to get a plastic cup from the bartender, hold onto it for the night.

5. Encourage just one other person to do the same!

Have a safe and happy new year’s eve!

-Jocelyn Broyles

Green New Year’s Eve Beauty – Non-Toxic Nail Polish

The more natural I go with skin care, the more natural I go with everything I put on my body. My latest green switch is nail care. I am a big fan of painted nails. In my jewelry career, that was limited to my toes, as it was pointless to paint my fingernails – they were never long and were in constant use.

I was watching a rerun of my favorite guilty pleasure, Gilmore Girls, and Lorelai’s nails were painted this great fire-engine red. This was about a week before Christmas and I thought, “Perfect!” I ran to my bathroom, got my fave O.P.I. red and started to paint. Then, I noticed the smell. My husband has what we like to call “dog nose” (thanks to a funny line in an even funnier book, Diary of a Mad Mom-to-Be by Laura Wolf). This affliction causes him to smell things more deeply and strongly and than the rest of us, especially me. Problem is, I seem to have contracted it as well in the few months since we moved back to the states, and the nail polish was seriously making me feel like I was going to loose my lunch. And the kicker? It wouldn’t dry. Ever. I think it was the rain. Whatever the cause, after four hours trying to dry in the evening and a sleepless night spent with my nails sticking to my flannel sheets, I got up and removed the perfect red that was now all smudged and still not dry. The lacquer/formaldehyde smell stuck with me through the night and my nails felt a little bit like someone was trying to peel them off. I’ve known for years that nail polish and standard polish remover is not terribly healthy for us and even less healthy for the environment, and I’d been thinking for a while that I needed to switch. But would non-toxic colors really last? Would they come in the shades I like? Would plain old alcohol really remove them?

Hence began my search for non-toxic nail polish. I’ve been more aware of healthier lacquer since I attended the Women In Green Forum this past September, but haven’t been painting my nails much (or at all, really) and haven’t had the right impetus to pursue researching it. Until now.

There are lots of brands out there that say they are all-natural or non-toxic, and there is no chemical-free nail polish (that I could find – tell me if I’m wrong!) on the market, but there are three ingredients you are looking to avoid:

1. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

2. Formaldehyde (yes, seriously. In your nail polish.)

3. Toluene

These three have been linked to problems ranging from skin irritation in people to birth defects in animals.

Polishes that exclude all three of the above-listed chemicals:

1. Piggy Paint, non-toxic, odorless, kid-friendly, kid-colored, water-based formula.

2. Honeybee Gardens, an alternative to solvent-based nail polish, water-based, odorless, removes with rubbing alcohol.

3. No-Miss, does not contain the three-to-avoid above, and also does not contain camphor.

4. Acquarella, water-based system of nail polish, conditioner, remover and moisturizer.

5. Suncoat, water-based nail polish that has been recognized and honored from the Canadian Health Food Association Expo.

6. Gaiam, Created by New York City’s first organic spa, our non toxic nail polish is free of known carcinogens.

7. Peacekeeper Cause-Metics, created by the Environmental Working Group as the safest paint-based natural nail polish.

8. Sante, created without the use of formaldehydes, toluene, and colophony rosin.

9. Nubar, carcinogen-free nail care products.

10. Safe Nail Polish, non-toxic, oderless, made in the USA.

11. Priti, non-toxic, made without the evil-three and all know carcinogenic ingredients.

12. Spa Ritual, vegan nail lacquers.

Having done my research, I was eager to try some out! I looked at several of the brands for the colors I wanted: fire-engine red; palest of pinks like you’d use for a french manicure; and dark purple-almost black, but not true black. I found what I thought I was looking for at Honeybee Gardens online, and ordered all three colors. Once delivered, the only one that was what I wanted was the light pink, but I saved the other two to give as gifts. I found the red I was looking for by No-Miss in the RWC Whole Foods, and am still on the lookout for the not-quite-black. I recommend buying polish you can see in the store, online photos and different computer screens make it difficult to tell what color you’re really getting.

So how well does the polish hold up and does it really come off with just rubbing alcohol? Fabulously well! And Yes! I gave myself a full mani-pedi on Sunday, and had to remove the last of the pink polish. I used plain old generic rubbing alcohol, probably from Walgreen’s, and cotton swabs (once my bag of swabs is done, I will switch to using cotton rags in stead of disposable cotton balls). I had to rub a little longer to remove all the polish, but there was no stink! Not from the remover or the polish – Honeybee Gardens and No-Miss both state they are fragrance-free and while they do have a slight odor, it is insignificant and doesn’t smell like toxic paint.

As for the staying power, I have a chip on one nail, but I’ve done dishes, washed a car and moved some furniture since Sunday and I’m impressed with how great the paint looks and stays on. I’m a convert for sure.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Restaurants Open On Christmas Day In The Bay Area

Image from Kaboose Wendy Kalen

Steve (my fabulously wonderful husband) and I find ourselves in the middle of a move this Christmas, with our belongings going to not one, or two, but three different places. This inadvertently pushed our holiday onto the back burner and we went with it, deciding not to make plans and see where the day takes us. At the moment, it’s taking me to seeking out restaurants open on Christmas day.

Having lived in Central America for the last decade, Christmas has become much more of a celebration of life and joy, friends and family, beauty and reflection, than one of chilly weather, Christmas trees, pretty lights and fancy packages – remember it’s 95 in the shade, humid as the south, blue skied and beachy where I lived: Not exactly typical sleigh-ride conditions. So Steve and I find it easy to modify our holiday to our needs, which today is food. In a serious way, as all we have left in the fridge is some eggs, arugula and apple juice. Which, if we still had pans, plates, silverwear and glasses, might make a tasty meal. But we don’t, they’re now safely tucked in a garage three miles away.

Hence, I’m looking for cozy, comfy, non-traditional and traditional Christmas-fare restaurants open on Christmas day here in the Bay Area. I figured my hard work ought to be shared and make your day all that much more festive. So grab your egg nog and see what’s being served today in someone else’s dining room:

1. The Duck Club at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park. Serving a special Holiday menu and accommodating parties without reservations. 650-322-1234.

2. Ibera in Menlo Park, open for a special Christmas menu from 3p.m. to 7p.m. 650-325-8981

3. Madera Restaurant at Rosewood Resort Sand Hill. They are serving a prix fixe four-course dinner for $90 per person. A downloadable menu is available online. At the time of this writing, they had 1p.m. time slots and 8:15 availability. 650.561.1500.

4. Ming’s Palo Alto. Serving their normal menu, open all day. 650.844.9479.

5. Buca di Beppo, Palo Alto. Open until 8pm. Serving their regular menu. 650.329.0665

Happy eating, Merry Christmas and Peace, Joy and Love to all.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Green Gifts Under $100

This is my list of great green gifts for Christmas 2010. I have to admit, I used a couple of my faves from Jennifer Grayson’s list.

1. kyler by joy o – sustainable fashion jewelry
2. C5 Company – sustainable fine jewelry
3. Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay – gluten free, 100% natural and biodegradable
4. Sapothecary – all natural, handmade soaps
5. Kiss My Face – natural body care with labeling you can trust
6. Mother Love -herbal care products for motherhood and babies
7. Sacred Grounds – sustainable fair trade local-to-California coffee
8. Klean Kanteen – one of the best, sustainable H2O bottles out there
9. NRDG Green Gifts – save polar bears, wolves, baby buffalo and more
10. Patagonia – a pioneer in sustainability with great style and quality
11. Love Bottles – glass water bottles with a message
12. People Towels – personal hand towels
13. TetraCycle Speakers – upcycled, foldable cardboard speakers
14. Make Love Not Trash – sustainable, upcycled bags and clothing
15. Coco Zen – fine chocolates and candy made in Pacifica
16. Citizen Eco Drive watch – runs on solar, not batteries
17. Recycled Typewriter Cufflinks – just what they sound like
18. BoGo flashlight – buy one and another will be donated.
19. Tom’s Shoes – a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased.
20. Upcycled gloves – handmade in Colorado
21. Recycled fire extinguisher vases – by Valentino Llegada
22. highball glasses – made from windshields
23. slate chalkboard clock – from recycled parts
24. Kris Nations – fabulous jewelry from reclaimed metals
25. New Leaf Paper – eco-friendly papers
26. O’Bon – eco-friendly school supplies and support programs
27. Dawes Design – gorgeous sustainable jewelry
28. Honeybee Gardens – Non toxic water-based nail polish and cosmetics
29. Antique Spoon Art – This stuff is really fun: garden markers, ornaments, not your typical spoon ring stuff