Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Everyone needs an Alice"

This is my parents' cat Alice. This post isn't actually about her, but isn't she cute? She loves the camera, if you couldn't tell.

As I mentioned in my previous post, while searching for the final ingredient for the laundry detergent recipe, I stumbled upon the site,, and have since become addicted.

I used to hate shopping for basics at the store: toilet paper, toothpaste, deoderant -- ugh. gives me the opportunity to shop for all of these things and more from my personal computer -- with free shipping -- and green options! Can you sense my obsession?

The only downsides I've noticed:
  1. After your first order (which they use to hook you), your shopping cart must have a minimum of six items before you can place an order. 
  2. Obviously with shopping online, you don't receive your purchases instantaneously, so you have to plan ahead a little. So far, though, my orders have arrived in 2-3 business days.
 I have experienced many more positive points:
  1. Product reviews and descriptions so you can compare and see what you're buying
  2. Prices lower or comparable to discount retailers such as Walmart and Target (especially when it comes to environmentally-friendly products)
  3. Alice keeps track of what you've purchased and you can set reminders to reorder
  4. A wide range of products and brands to choose from
  5. Ability to sort by "green" products
  6. Some items are marked with instant coupons, which are automatically deducted when you place an order
Here is a breakdown of my most recent order:
  • Green Laundry Dryer Balls (2 in the package): $7.99
  • Ultra Green Facial Tissue (1 box): $1.99
  • Earth Friendly Bathroom Tissue (2 packages of 4 rolls): $2.79 each = $5.58
  • Naturally Fresh Deoderant (1 stick -- I'm a little skeptical of this, to be honest. We'll see.): $3.99 - $0.25 coupon = $3.74
  • EconoGreen Kitchen Garbage Bags (box of 30): $4.99
 From all my bragging, it's obvious I've been very pleased since finding this website. I fully recommend giving it a try and seeing if this service can save you the hassle and gas from making so many trips to the store.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Suds for your Duds

For the first few weeks of living in the new apartment, we didn't have a washer and dryer. However, after running out of clean clothes and doing some laundry at the parents' house, we gave into convenience and rented a set.

Because I spent eight months living with my parents, I never once needed to buy detergent or dryer sheets. But I happened to have just enough laundry detergent left for two loads from my previous apartment.

During this transition time, I remembered I had bookmarked a post from Dometic Cents about homemade laundry detergent.

The recipe she found here is very simple:
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 bar grated Ivory soap
Obviously the ivory soap was easy to find (about $2 for 3 bars*). I was surprised to find 20 Mule Team Borax so easily -- it was on the aisle with other laundry detergent (about $4 for a 76 oz box*). Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda was a little more difficult. I ended up doing a search and finding a 55 oz box for $2.99* from the fantastic online store Alice.

About a week ago, I attempted to make half a batch so I could do laundry right away. Turns out I didn't have a cheese grater. So one serrated knife and a several hand cuts later, I had enough detergent to do some laundry. 

It worked! My laundry came out smelling fresh and clean.

I have since acquired a grater and made a full batch with plenty of ingredients to spare for the future. And thanks to Domestic Cents, I also have a recipe for dishwasher detergent (which uses some of the same ingredients) once my current supply runs out.

Side Note: All the packaging for my ingredients is paper-based. No plastics. And each will last much longer than buying new detergent all the time. Less waste! I simply store my supply of homemade detergent in a reusable container. And, of course, stick with cool water to avoid using that extra energy when washing clothes.

*Revision: Added approximate prices of ingredients

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Hippie Mecca

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took Friday off work and traveled to Asheville, N.C., for a few days. I had been to Asheville once before with my family, but hadn't spent any time in the downtown area.

We opted to stay downtown where we could walk to most restaurants and pubs.

The main thoroughfare of Asheville is only slightly larger than that of Athens, Ga., where I spent four years during college. These two small cities have a great deal in common: many old brick buildings, a largely liberal environment surrounded by conservative areas.

However, Asheville appears to have a much larger hippie-to-fratty ratio. I saw far more white people (men and women) with dreads than I did Polo shirts. Asheville also has many breweries within the city (a major draw for my boyfriend).

I wish it was more common here in Atlanta for shops and restaurants (though there are places) to take pride in locally-produced items.

Overall, I had a wonderful weekend getaway complete with meandering through a farmer's market, hearing a drum circle, browsing vintage shops, visiting breweries and indulging in some delicious meals.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dangerously Cheesy!

I have always been a Cheetos girl. There’s just something about the cheesy, crunchy goodness that is so addicting.

I credit Cheetos (particularly the paws and twists) as one of my favorite snacks during an overweight stage in my childhood. 

Once I lost weight and became healthier, I switched to the baked variety. Sure they kind of taste like artificial cheese on cardboard. But I’m OK with that. I still pick these up from time to time.

But ever since I discovered Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Puffs, I’m hooked. They don’t taste like cardboard. To me, they taste just like a white cheddar version of the original flavor should. Plus, they don’t turn your hands orange.

They certainly aren’t worse (calorie-wise) than any regular chips I’d be eating with my lunch. And I feel slightly less terrible when I consume half a bag in one sitting like I did yesterday after buying a new bag. This is why I generally pack a set amount in a reusable container to take to work.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's all green to me

I’m still trying to figure out which direction I want to go with this blog. I know that may not be too comforting to you if you’re reading this, but I’m trying to be upfront here.

Originally, I planned to share tips on ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Problem is, I’m still working on this myself. (I mean, sometimes I forget to take in my reusable bags when I’m shopping.)

If you’re interested in tips, though, check out It’s a great resource, and I think I’ve read every post.

Sure, I can share little things I find along the way (like keeping my green bags in the pocket behind the driver’s seat doesn’t always mean I’ll remember to take them with me). But overall this consists of mundane activities, such as buying shampoo and trying to make laundry detergent (which I’ll be doing soon).

What I’m getting at is that I’m going to make this blog more of a personal narrative. Don’t worry, not overly personal. But more about my personal struggle to live a “greener” life – cause it is a struggle. It’s not easy to change life-long habits.

FYI, I ended up with some Trader Joe's shampoo and conditioner at $2.99 each. It’s not labeled “organic” or “natural,” but the ingredients are primarily organic fruits – no scary stuff. That’s way more affordable than those $8 bottles of Burt’s Bees and other brands. Love you, Trader Joe’s!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Grabbing lunch out? If you're planning to get cup of water to go with it, why not bring your own?

Rather than using a paper or styrofoam cup, a plastic lid and a straw, bring along the reusable water bottle you should already be drinking from to keep hydrated throughout the day. Plus, it's free.

Happy lunching!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Green-Colored Glasses

Habits are hard to change.

I'm accustomed to going into a store, purchasing basically the same things I always buy — paying attention to what's on sale — but overall, the products don't vary too much.

In my effort to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, I've started paying attention to ingredients in the products I use. Many are things I do not recognize.
I've been using Pantene Pro-V shampoo. Reading the list of ingredients reminds me of high school chemistry. Suffixes such as -ate and -ide populate the list. Chemicals.

OK, it's not exactly shocking there are chemicals in my shampoo. I certainly don't claim to be an expert on chemistry, and to be honest, I don't know where these chemicals come from or what effects the have on me or the environment after they wash down the drain.

Maybe they're harmful. Maybe they aren't so bad.

Either way, I'd feel better buying products I know are safe. Unfortunately, these tend to cost substantially more.

My shampoo supply is getting low, and I'm trying to figure out which eco-friendly brand I can find for a more affordable price.

The other day, I was at Walmart looking through the natural "beauty" products. Each bottle of shampoo for various brand was about $8 — about double the price of Pantene Pro-V, in a much smaller bottle.

Although I don't mind to pay a little more for "natural" and "organic" products, more than double the cost is not going to fit into my budget.