Greener Curls

green_shampooI actually did have green hair for a little while as a teenager. It was during my “let’s dye our hair every month” phase, back when I could tolerate the smell of peroxide and that lovely burning scalp feeling. I didn’t intend to have green hair – I was going for black, and somehow it came out a kind of patchy army green color. Very flattering.

But this post isn’t about hair colors, it’s about hair cleanliness, and it comes in the form of a recommendation from my homegirl Francesca (Cessi), who always looks great and I totally trust her advice. This is what she writes:

So a friend suggested I try eliminating shampoo and conditioner, most of which aren’t so green, including a lot of organic brands. Anyways, the regime is especially good for wavy or curly hair and purported to restore a natural balance to your scalp’s oils. I discovered a plethora of stuff online about this no-poo lifestyle and have been using baking soda for cleansing and apple cider vinegar for conditioning for a few months. So far so good…probably better than before actually. And with no dirty-hippy results. Here’s a website with info./instructions and some good links at the bottom:

Thanks for the advice, Cessi! I plan to give it a try once I run out of my pseudo-green Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner.

June 17, 2009 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

Raw Shame

oreoThis is kind of embarrassing. I go all the way into Manhattan to score some raw milk (which is illegal but shouldn’t be, because it’s delicious and wholesome), and then I come home and soil it with an Oreo cookie. Oreos are made from highly processed ingredients, they’re “chocolate” cookies, but the very last ingredient listed on their packaging is chocolate, and they’re made by Nabisco, which is owned by R.J. Reynolds and is one of those big nasty food/tobacco/evil companies.

It was really tasty. I really shouldn’t buy Oreos. From now on I’m just going to make my own cookies, or even better I’ll make Boyfriend make them for me.

June 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm 2 comments

Rudimentary Rain Catch

New York City isn’t exactly a desert, but any time you use tap water you’re also using the energy that it took to purify that water, so I’m trying to use rainwater as much as possible for irrigating my garden. Originally I just put a bunch of buckets out and hoped they would fill up, but that took up a lot of space and didn’t yield many gallons.


So I had to take more drastic measures – with a hack saw. (more…)

June 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm 2 comments

New York, New York, a waterful town.

Or should I say, “State.” It’s a bad pun, either way.

I just wanted to point out the fact that New York State agencies will now be forgoing the purchase of bottled water (including water coolers!) and installing fountains in all of its offices. It’s part of a state-wide effort to pinch pennies and deal with our massive budget deficit, and it comes hand-in hand with a host of positive environmental consequences.

Yay for New York State, and yay for the New York Times for bringing us this news. (yay!)

May 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

The Great Seedling Massacre of 2009

seedlingsI just wanted to give you an update on those lovely seedlings that I cultivated about a month ago: they died.  After a couple weeks of happy growing on my windowsill, I decided to mess with them (separating the biggest ones out into different pots), and a lot of them perished in the process. The plastic containers that I started them in didn’t have holes, either, which meant that they didn’t drain properly – also a big no-no. The ones that did survive (mostly peppers and a few herbs), I moved out into the back yard into a rinky-dink greenhouse (or cold frame, as it were) that I fashioned out of six old windows and some rope. They did ok out there, because they got a lot of light, but I still probably ended up wasting about $30 worth of seeds. Boo.

The whole experience was educational, though. And I like my little greenhouse – I think I’ll rebuild him when fall rolls around and see if I can grow some kale and other hearty greens out there next winter (in the same vein as my mini greenhouse experiement at my old apartment). The windows I’m using now are double-paned, which I think will help raise the temperature during the day and insulate overnight, so hopefully we’ll get some food out of the deal.

Anyways, RIP to those poor little guys that I obliterated, and let’s cross our fingers for the seeds that I just put into the ground. Hopefully Mother Earth will take better care of them than I can.


April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Pine Sol without Pine

cleaningWith all the gardening and soil hauling that I’ve been doing this week, my floors have gotten really nasty and muddy. Yesterday I attempted to address this problem with a little mop action. Of course, my floors are already muddy again, but that’s not my point. My point is this: what the F am I doing with a bottle of lemon-scented Pine Sol under my sink?

Pine Sol, on its own, is really not that bad. Its active ingredient is pine oil, which is a natural cleaning agent that comes from distilling the needles and wood of pine trees. The cleanser also includes alkyl alcohol ethoxylates, which are toxic if you consume them and hazardous in large quantities but also totally biodegradable, as well as isopropanol, which is basically rubbing alcohol. The cleanser also has some sodium petroleum sulfonate, which is basically oil-based soap. While you wouldn’t want to drink Pine Sol, or rub it on your skin, it’s probably not the worst thing (from an environmental perspective) to clean your floors with.

But still – lemon scented Pine Sol? I can’t even remember buying this stuff. I generally clean my house with vinegar, lemon juice, and the occasional “natural” cleanser that I buy from natural foods stores when I’m feeling fancy (note: the Seventh Generation bottle pictured above is about 3 years old and currently contains a vinegar-water solution). Pine Sol is a product of the Clorox Company, which is on the cutting-edge of greenwashing after having bought out Burt’s Bees and with its “Green Works” products (CLOROX: disposable wipes will never be “green”, please stop making them!). (more…)

April 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Seeds Sown

garden_beforeafterFinally, after what seemed like an endless cold spell that nearly ruined the first half of April, this past weekend brought a heat wave that gave me permission to plant my seeds outside. The timing really couldn’t have been better, to be honest, because with the heat wave came a tidal wave of soil. I liken this soil to a tidal wave because when the truck dumped the five yards of it onto the sidewalk in front of my house Saturday morning, it reminded me of tidal wave nightmares that I used to have when I was a child. I think the dreams were symptoms of being overwhelmed by homework and whatnot, whereas the enormous quantity of soil represented my and Boyfriend’s naivete about the actual size of a yard of soil.

pile_dirtI have never been responsible for anything so massive in my life – this was literally a ton (maybe more) of dirt. With the help of my brother and some neighbors, we hauled it, bucket-by-bucket through my railroad apartment and out into a heap in the back yard until it was clear that we weren’t going to need any more back there. The rest (about 3 yards or so) was left for the neighbors to take.

In most neighborhoods, a pile of dirt would be an unwanted eyesore, but this might as well have been a pile of gold. We have a serious soil shortage here in NYC. So the folks next door grabbed a bunch, and then throughout the day a variety of characters, including a few community garden representatives, brought trucks and buckets and picked away at the heap until it was all gone. Thanks to Craig’s List for facilitating those connections.

companion_plantingNow that I had my soil and my warm weather, I got to work planting my seeds. I found a nice companion planting chart online and planned out what plants would go where, and then started shoving the little guys into the soil. I put in about 20 kind of vegetables (corn, beans, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, greens, etc), and another dozen or so herbs as well as some flowers. Planting seeds is always quicker and less labor-intensive than every other part of gardening, and once I was done I felt like there must have been something I left out. Dirt? Check. Seeds? Check. Water? Yes, I watered everything. Check.

Now I can sit back and wait for them to spring to life. Soon I’ll be weeding like a madwoman, so I might as well get some rest while I’ve got the chance.

April 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

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