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Roadtrip: Ithaca + Watkins Glen

I grew up hiking, camping and exploring places off the beaten path but for some reason I had never been to (or heard of) a glen. So, when Brian and I proposed a camping trip to our friends, we jumped in the car and drove north to Ithaca and—wait for it—Watkins Glen.

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We loaded up our cars and armed with good music, plenty of snacks made the 3 1/2 hour drive to Ithaca, NY. After a quick stop for firewood, we arrived just in time to shake out our stiff legs and take a much needed, *ahem*, potty break. Ithaca was hosting a fun street fair that day (no pics, but I swear it happened) and we traipsed around town for a little bit before heading out.  Read More

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Green-Up Your Morning Cup

 

Depending on the day, brewing your morning coffee can be a relaxing and enjoyable process or a rushed and mindless one as you dash out the door, mug in hand. Whether your morning is slow and steady or just one big blur, there are a few simple ways you can cut back on waste, energy consumption and savor your morning cup all at once. As someone who loves to drink her java regularly, slowing down even for a minute and making sustainable choices first thing helps me build better habits. Plus, the end result is really, reaaally worth it…  Read More

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5 Holiday Looks That Do (and Look) Good

In a talk on why he decided to start a Fair Trade coffee company,  Jonathon Golden eloquently made a complex idea incredibly simple, “I just don’t see why someone needs to suffer for my morning cup”.

It’s true. In our world of creature comforts, we can spend a lot of time fretting over  how “inconvenient” all our many conveniences have become: the price of our coffee, the long lines, the Amazon order that’s taking foooreeeverrr. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say we aren’t allowed to enjoy what we’ve been given, I only argue that we can — and should — always aim to be more thoughtful and responsible citizens of the world.  Read More

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Gifts that Give Back: Jabonarte Soaps

What I love to do most on The Basic Goods is share with you all the talents, missions and big hearts of people I am lucky to call my friends. This one especially strikes a chord with me because Nia Salas, founder of the Costa Rican-based social enterprise Jabonarte, was my fearless leader on a volunteer trip to Costa Rica years back. The kindness, warmth and pride of the Costa Rican people who welcomed me and my father into their community made such an impression and today I’m deeply honored to have an opportunity to give back again.

Jabonarte is a social enterprise in San José, Costa Rica that designs, creates and sells artisanal soaps. By employing women who have survived domestic violence every purchase helps to ensure permanent jobs and safe futures for the makers and their families.  Read More

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Homemade Eucalyptus Tea

Happy Autumn, everybody! Autumn is a time of year that both thrills and terrifies me. On the one hand, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful season (my favorite of them all), is the perfect weather for camping, hiking and being out of doors — and of course, is just the beginning of a very long and very wonderful string of holidays.

Oh, right, the terrifying part. The chillier weather also signals the start of sinus, cold and flu season! If you’re anything like me you fall prey to these things all. the. time. For this reason, I am willing to try most remedies that promise healing and a hope for a less congested future.

I recently got knocked off my feet by a virus-turned-sinus infection and ran to the store to pick up some essentials when I decided to grab myself some eucalyptus leaves to brighten things up — you know, as one does. As I got a whiff of this potent flora I wondered how they would fare as a tea? Luckily, intuition served me right. Not only was my homemade eucalyptus tea delicious and easy to make it was also totally WORKING!!! To my delight, I also discovered it works great as an inhalant if you are suffering from those nasty dry and itchy symptoms.  Read More

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How to Make Eco-Friendly Air-Fresheners

Let’s face it, sometimes (not pointing fingers) things around the house can get a little smelly. Places like the kitchen, bathroom and even our closets may develop a malodour that is none too pleasing. In this case, our first impulse is to reach for store bought air-fresheners and spray the place down until it smells like a veritable Peach Paradise or Green Apple Orchard.

Although this may be an easy solution, many fresheners (this includes scented candles) found on the shelf are laden with harsh chemicals. The EPA lists formaldehyde, petrochemicals and other airborne toxins as some of the most harmful and common ingredients found in many air fresheners and household cleaners. Read More

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Kitchen Composting 101

Way back when, I used to think everything I didn’t want, need or knew what to do with, went straight into the garbage. That was then — this is now: I have a love for composting like no other. It is fun (uh, yah, FUN!), super impactful (mmmhm) and surprisingly simple (you heard me).

*Humblebrag: I am even excited to say that after having gone on an obnoxious eco war path, my family and boyfriend all composts and loves it too! I might even use the word “addicted”. I just might. 

So, why all the shout outs and love for composting? To put it simply,  it’s a fantastic way to help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. When garbage gets taken to landfills, the contents often sit there unable to properly break down due to lack of oxygen. When this happens it goes through a detrimental process called anaerobic decomposition that produces methane (the greenhouse gas we were talking about) and prevents nature from doing the work it needs to do!
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The Clean Tee

Today, I would love to introduce you guys to the seriously innovative trailblazers of Nomadix and their latest campaign for change, Clean Apparel: The Most Sustainable T-Shirt on the Planet.

The. Planet.

No, really.

You may remember co-founder, Chace from a previous post in which I interviewed him for Pure Green Magazine and I’m really thrilled to share his next venture with you here on the blog. The Clean Apparel campaign is striving to break ground in the apparel industry by producing “the most sustainable t-shirt on the planet”. Through a powerful closed-loop manufacturing system, Nomadix recycles textile scraps to create new material that uses way less water and energy, plus, is free from the harmful pesticides or dyes that are found in so many articles of clothing. The end result is a siiiiiickkk tee (my words and maybe their’s too) that has you thinking, well, why doesn’t everybody do this? And that, friends is the key point. With apparel being the second most polluting industry (oil is first) and something that we consume almost mindlessly it’s important to realize that industry standards are low and damaging to the health of people and planet, to say the very least.  Read More

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3 Air-Purifying House Plants

Years ago in Vancouver, BC, I stumbled into a mystical-looking floral shop with a jaw-dropping display of plants of all different colors, textures, shapes and sizes. The sheer beauty and creativity of the wall blew me away and being the eager, ambitious young woman that I am I marched straight up to the counter with a hundred questions — the most important was, “how can I do THIS?!”.

The florist was kind enough to educate me on the plants and their benefits and assured me that there was more to them than just how pretty they looked. Since then, I have been a stalwart champion of house plants. This is not to say I am a particularly gifted gardner but I do believe that they are important to keep in your home. Read More

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12 Powerful “Beauty Foods” to Bring Your Inner Radiance Out

Originally published on Mother Mag

“Beauty isn’t in the color of the eyeshadow you wear today—it’s in the radiant base underneath,” explains Jolene Hart, a former beauty editor turned holistic health coach who recently penned the thought-provoking book Eat Pretty, which encourages women to radically rethink and redefine their approach to looking and feeling their best. Her M.O.? Whole, healthy, and nutrient-rich food—and plenty of it. “These nutrients are pure beauty fuel that gives our bodies the energy to defend, repair, renew, and fortify,” she says. “Seizing their power is the key to a lifetime of gorgeous.” Want to have what she’s having? Check out her rundown of 12 foods that’ll help beautify you from the inside out below, and get ready to add them to your grocery list (and beauty routine) pronto. Read More