Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bounty of Boxes


Don't throw out those boxes!  

There's someone out there who will purchase and/or take them from you.  Who? Well, lot's of people.  Have you seen what boxes cost these days? You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on boxes and other packing materials for even a small move. Here's a list of places to advertise your used boxes and packing supplies:

Need boxes and can't find everything you need from the classified sites listed above? You can buy great recycled boxes from Used Cardboard Boxes. They offer the same sizes and package deals as moving supply companies like U-Haul, but they are less expensive and more eco-friendly. 

(Thanks to Ideal Bite for this great tip!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stop Bounce(ing) - The Dangers of Dryer Sheets

I have to admit, I was pretty much in the dark about the dangers of dryer sheets. My husband came home yesterday and said, "Dryer sheets are really bad for you. You should look into that for your blog." I thought, "That's a good idea. Luckily I've been buying the environmentally friendly kind."

Well, that is what I thought, anyway. I obviously wasn't paying very close attention. I took out my almost empty box of "Bounce Free" and casually glanced at it. I saw such green announcements as "Box made from 100% recycled paper" and "No dyes and perfumes." When I looked at the ingredients list, however, all it said was, "Bounce contains biodegradable cationic softeners." That doesn't sound so bad, right?

Wrong. They just aren't required to list all the awful chemicals that make up these biodegradable elements. What's worse, these chemicals infiltrate your clothing and are slowly released into your system every time you wear this clothing. There is detailed information about this from SixWise, so I won't go into details here. Suffice to say you would NOT want this stuff entering your bloodstream if you could help it.  I know some of you are thinking you are safe because you use liquid fabric softener, but, trust me, it's is just as bad.  

So, what are the alternatives?  How can you soften, scent and de-static cling your clothing without chemicals? The good news is that the options are all much less expensive than buying dryer sheets and fabric softener. 
  • Air Dry: I know the best thing you can do for your clothes, yourself and the environment is to not use a dryer at all.  It saves energy and makes your clothes last longer, which you can read about in more detail courtesy of this article from The Golden Spiral. It also eliminates static cling.
  • Vinegar: Add 1/2 cup of plain old white vinegar where you would normally put liquid fabric softener in your washing machine.  It will soften your clothes, cut soap residue than can dull colored items and naturally remove static.  Do NOT use it in conjunction with bleach.
  • Fabric Type: Synthetic fabrics are the major culprits for static cling, so try to wash them separately from cottons and take them out when they are still slightly damp. 
I also tried using aluminum foil in the place of dryer sheets, as I'd read that eliminated static cling, but it didn't work for me.  Some manufactured products, such as dryerballs and the static eliminator, claim to be better than dryer sheets, but both are made of synthetic ingredients and the dryerballs are plastic.  The best actual dryer sheets I've found are the Method Dryer Cloths, but they still waste precious resources and energy, all to solve the horrid first world problem of static cling and fabric softness! 

Monday, February 16, 2009

T Lofts

You can drive past the T Lofts project location hundreds of times and never really notice it. The back side runs along Exposition Boulevard, right at the junction of Pico, Gateway and Exposition, and extends back to Tennessee Avenue. It is still under construction and fenced off, but the basic structure is visible, and there is a now a large banner advertising the lofts that is visible from Pico. 

Billed as "eco-lofts," the complex consists of approximately 84 units that vary in size from 933 to 2,050 square feet. I would label the units as "partial lofts." They lack the usual components of the urban loft, such as soaring ceilings and generous square footage, and are new construction, not adaptive reuse of an existing building. However, they offer other unique features, such as "green" design and flexible floor plans to allow for a combination of live/work activities.

As for the green features, they are listed here and are certainly to be commended.  I also wanted to highlight what I liked best about T Lofts:
  • No open spaces were killed in the construction of T Lofts.  Urban sprawl is ugly, wasteful and unnecessary. 
  • The units are reasonably sized and well designed, showing that a normal sized family doesn't need a McMansion to live comfortably. 
  • The units feature energy efficient appliances, low VOC paint and clean, modern design.
  • The location is walking distance to shopping, restaurants and entertainment, something that most new housing developments lack.
There are six different floor plans available, offering a range of configurations and sizes. Plan 1 is a straightforward one bedroom/one bath. Plans 2, 4 and 6 are also straightforward and I think they work quite well, offering up to 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. I find plan 3 a bit odd. It is the only plan that is specifically designed to be a clear work/live unit.  It offers a first floor that consists of an office space, a half bath with a toilet and sink, and a washer/dryer. The upstairs is devoted to the living quarters, consisting of one bedroom, one full bathroom and a kitchen, dining and living room.  I find it odd that the washer/dryer is relegated to the office space downstairs, and I also think not having the option of a living area on the first floor really limits the unit's resale value. If they had just put a full bath downstairs you could at least have the option of building out a bedroom in the future.  

That said, I want to be positive about the T Lofts. They are an interesting and ambitious project that embodies many eco-friendly elements. The builders are to be commended for their adaptive reuse of a site most would consider risky for a high-end residential project. They do face some challenges besides the obvious sad state of the economy. Although within walking distance of the trendy Sawtelle area and the Westside Pavilion, they are also a stone's throw from the Fantasy Island gentleman's club on Pico and flanked by self storage structures on Tennessee.  You can still find a single family detached home in the same area for $600,000- $1,000,000, which is what the lofts will be offered at. However, I don't want to be too pessimistic, and if I were in the market for a home I would certainly be tempted by T Loft's design features, floor plans, "green" practices and location. 

You can get more information at the T Loft Sales Center, located on Olympic Boulevard three blocks West of Sawtelle.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Vintage Cocktail Table

Glamour Goes Green just listed a really nice mid-century modern cocktail table on eBay!  

Check out the auction here:  Vintage Modern Cocktail Table

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day: Nude, Organic and Almost Life Size

In doing some research for an article on ways to green your Valentine’s Day, I came across some great alternatives that are less toxic to the environment than the usual suspects. If you consider yourself a traditionalist, or just want to play by the rules this Valentine's Day, try these green resources:
These companies are great, and they have some really nice products. However, I was kind of disappointed.  I wanted to find really unique things! So, I went to one of my favorite places on the web, Craigslist. I popped the search term “Valentine” into the Craigslist search engine to see what kinds of options were out there. I've summarized my findings below, including the actual titles for these advertisements as they were written.  I call this list "nude, organic and almost life size" as an homage to the titles of these ads:

"Sexy NUDE Fairy 4 UR Valentine Prof Mat & Frame 21x27 - $599" isn't all that "NUDE" and I don't think its "sexy," but if you disagree you can see the whole ad here.

"Organic Handmade Catnip Cat Toys"
"Safe alternative to chocolate for cats on valentines day"
I'm glad someone thought of a "safe alternative" to that box of chocolates that gave kitty diarrhea last year! 

"Fantastic Papier Mache Burro By Jeanne Valentine Almost Life Size"
This one snuck in there because the sculptress' last name is Valentine, but I don't think I've seen anything quite as unique as this. It is also vintage, which equals green in my book!  You can fill the burro's baskets with the aforementioned flowers, chocolates and lingerie, and you've got a Valentine's Day present your sweetie will NEVER forget! - buy here

Auntie Em's

A friend told me about Auntie Em's over dinner on Sunday. It sounded too good to be true. Fresh, organic, local produce delivered to your door? Recipes provided with each delivery so you know how to turn that produce into something delicious? All for around $40 a week? I was amazed. How had I not heard about this before?

I checked out the website, and everything my friend told me was true. (Not that I thought she was lying, I just wanted to verify things for myself.) They will also deliver prepared meals, such as Organic Chicken Gumbo, Free Range Lamb Tagine and many others, including plenty of vegetarian choices. How great is that?

So many people, when I tell them we get most of our food from the Farmer's market, say things like, "Oh, I'd love to get things from the Farmer's Market, I just don't have the time to go." Or, "I buy fruits and vegetables and then I don't know what to do with them." I have to admit, my husband does all the schlepping of produce from his biweekly trips to the Farmer's Market. My inner curmudgeon can't stand navigating through dozens of shrieking children and aimlessly wandering adults, all set to the tune of bad folk music, just to fetch a few items for dinner. (This description only refers to my experience with the Sunday Farmer's Market in Santa Monica.  I don't want to scare anyone away from the more "professional" Farmer's Markets that occur during the week.)

So, if you don't have the time, or the inclination, to deal with going to a Farmer's Market, you can still support local, organic, sustainable farmers through the great service that is Auntie Em's!

Click here for all the info:

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Items on eBay

There are new items for sale from the Glamour Goes Green shop on eBay! They are all vintage and quite unique.

Sustainable Consumer? -

I think this is an interesting question, and one with many different answers.  I posted my thoughts with the username "ASwanton" underneath this article discussing my thoughts on the subject.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Arrival of the Eglu is Imminent!

Good news!  Our Eglu is almost here.  This means we can get our chicks and begin the exciting process of raising them to be good urban-dwelling hens. How exciting!