Eco Friendly Fashions and shoes!

I’m on an eco-revival.  Uhm, yeah.  Okay, I’ll go with that! 🙂

Getting my home cleaned the green way so now I need to think about dressing in a way that is better for the planet.  Easier thought than done, right?  Maybe not!

Here are a few companies that are making the job much easier (and cuter!).

While not all sustainable, the premise and mission is great “no sweatshops & no photoshop” and “expect more from your wardrobe”.  Who is this company? Birdsong in the UK.  Clothing made from batik in Ghana.  Hand-painted T-shirts with a very feminine message.  Handbags, shoes and rompers, oh my!  These stylish sandals are sustainable.  They’re made from reclaimed leather.


Okay, want cuter sustainable shoes and not clothing?  Check out Cammina Leggero vegan shoes.  Cammina Leggero’s shoes and accessories are “cruelty-free and made out of eco-compatible materials.”  My favorites are the Mary Janes in Mustard Yellow.  Yep, Italian vegan shoes.  You can’t get any better than that!

yellow Mary Jane vegan shoes_Cammina Leggero

Okay, now don’t shoot me!  I’m about to tell you about Soul of Africa and their shoes.  Yes, they use leather but it’s from free-roaming cows purchased from small-scale farmers in Ethiopia.  The funds help support the farmers and their families.  The company’s underlying mission is: Products that Build Communities.  Below is pictured the Daisy shoe in Tan.

Soul of Africa_Daisy shoe

D Boutique (Australia) has VEGAN shoes! 🙂  And, one of my favorites is the Love Tassels sandal.

TASSEL_TALES-BEIGE_du boutique austrialia_vegan

Another cute pair of wedges from D Boutique is their Peacock Pumps…

PEACOCKS pumps_d boutique vegan shoes


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention VERRAH vegan shoes.  I mentioned them here on this blog before.  I discovered them when I visited the GreenFest 2017 at the Javitis Center (NYC).

Veerah shoes 6 11 2017


the-maya-Verrah vegan shoes in red

The Maya (in red!!)

For a refresher on who, and what VEERAH is all about check out my previous green post here.  Oh, and here.  Nah, that’s it. 🙂

Okay, let’s just show the shoe first…

Nicora Studded Boot_eco shoe

OMG — right?  Nicora American made shoes.  This is the Wynonna Studded Ankle Boot in Sand.  It is almost sold out and you can see why!  Made from recycled materials, lined with recycled plastics with hand-cut wood heels all one can say is — bellissimo!

We will definitely speak more about great eco-friendly shoes in the future but for now…



Healthy Home with Green Cleaners

As you’ve read, I’m transitioning to using healthy cleaning products in my home.  (No more Fabuloso and Tilex for me!)  And, the first green product I used was City Maid Green’s all-purpose cleaners.  It took me a little over a week to try it and another few days for me to get used to the extra elbow-grease needed when using green products.  But, now I am fully committed to using green products!

TIP: Fellow author and health-enthusiast, Julie R(esist), told me to use a scrub sponge, or a brush, when using green products.  She says it reduces the amount of elbow-grease needed.  Thanks Julie!

But I digress.

Long story short.  City Maid Green products?  Finished!  I went looking for more at health food stores in my area.  Zip.  But, I can’t wait for products to be shipped before keeping my bathroom clean!  My last resort?  Whole Foods in midtown (new one opened up!).  However, no CMG products!  Arrgh.  I looked at the WF 365 Everyday Value product line of cleaners.  It’s Whole Foods.  It’s got to be good, sustainable, and safe.  Right?  I looked at the label of their All-Purpose Cleaner: Orange & Lemon Verbena.  It read as follows:

Our Full Ingredient Declaration: Aqua (Filtered Water), Sodium  Citrate (PH Control), Denatured Alcohol (Solvent), Laureth-7 (Plant-Derived Non-Ionic Surfactant), Methyl Alcohol (Solvent), Natural Fragrance, Ethyle Acetate (Solvent), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative).

Biodegradable * No Animal Testing

Safe for Septic and Grey Water Systems

Bottle is Made From 50% PCR Material

Made in Canada

I scratched my head at a few of the ingredients.  I had no clue what they were.  But, with precious few options I decided to try it.

I wasn’t that happy with the scent.  Think I’m not in love with Lemon Verbena but it was OK.  The sheeting action  was pretty good without too much elbow-grease (and no scrub sponge!).  Hmmm.  Maybe this would be okay!

After cleaning with it for 2 days, I decided to research it and see what others had to say about it.  You know what I found, right?  The Environmental Working Group gave All-Purpose Cleaner: Orange & Lemon Verbena a “D”!  In fact, only 80 green household cleaning products received an “A” while 199 scored a “D”, and 152 scored an “F”!  The EWG is pretty stringent and has high standards for our health and for the planet.

Some of the top rated product in household cleaners for 2017 are created by the following companies: Attitude, Aunt Fannie’s, and Lion Bear Naked Soap Co.  Click here for the full list of products that scored an “A”.

The lesson?  Do the research before buying anything! I totally agree with this meme — cleaning IS harder than it looks! LOL.

cleaning is harder than it looks

Ta-ta for now,





Weekend Inspiration: Clean Eating Does Wonders

I woke up wanting a hamburger and cheesy fries.  Yep.  Open eyes, dream of tantalizingly delicious juicy burger. [Insert your favorite burger here.]

Then, the immediate next thought was, What about all I’ve been learning?  How will my body respond to this influx of gluten, grease, calories and cholesterol?  Okay, so maybe it didn’t go exactly like that.  It could have gone more like this…

I want a frickin’ cheeseburger and fries!  To hell with this healthy eating.  I want to be happy, fat and NORMAL.  

And, it could have started yesterday when I ate both Jarlsberg and Smoked Gouda cheese for dinner because if I looked at another salad I was going to murderlize someone…

Woke up with a bloated tummy and flatulence.  But — still wanted a frickin’ burger! 🙂

How is this inspiring, you ask?  Because when I realized the relatively minor reactions I had to eating JUST some cheese, can you imagine the response my body would have to a full burger, the bun, cheese and tons of a bunch of other stuff?

Smoothie Bowl 7 8 2017

Basic Smoothie Bowl except did not freeze the bananas. The base is bananas, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and frozen mangoes. Toppings are simple: more bananas, apples & sliced plums with granola.

Then, I began realizing that I do enjoy the taste of a good roasted veggie salad with kale and carrot ginger dressing.  I recalled the smoothie bowls I’ve been enjoying these past several weeks, and the Soldanza Maduritos sweet plantain chips that are quickly becoming a food group for me.  And the good food that I know I can create once I get some new cooking techniques and the best ingredients to use (such as chickpea miso…).

Amy Valpone’s book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body is inspirational!  Amy is so positive and so confident that it virtually oozes between the words and infects me to want to eat clean, too.  [So, I might not be able to eat all of the comfort foods I remember but I can have ground foods (plantains (green and yellow), ackees, dasheen, etc.) and codfish!]

Amy’s health story is rougher than mine and she found her way through it all and is now healthy and happy.  I want to have that level of happiness in my own life.  And, if that means eating clean so as not to have a body always under a crisis — then that’s what I need to do.

I tried Amy’s granola recipe and it was amazing!  My children loved it as well and a batch (that filled a 16 oz container) was finished in 2.5 days.

What I’m saying is simply this: I really enjoyed eating foods that were not the best for my body.  I grew up with those foods!  They’re my go-to comfort foods when I want to feel ‘at home’.  But, it’s not working for me anymore.  What I am experiencing is the feelings of being in transition with my dietary food patterns — and that’s okay.  Just as long as I don’t indulge, and find healthy substitutes, I’m OK.  I have to be gentle with myself and nurture myself through the process of being Green & Leafy. 🙂

Ta-ta for now,


Ackee Saltfish & Food

Traditional home-cooked meal full of ground food and codfish. (Okay, so maybe the dumplings don’t fit in this picture…)



Do We Need to Care About BPA?

In a word…Yep.

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in plastic production that mimics estrogen.  It is most dangerous for children which is why it is banned in Europe, Canada, and China.  However, it is widely used in the USA.

Where can BPA be found?  Everywhere there’s plastic and canned food.  So, it is in canned coconut milk, canned fruit, canned meats, canned juices, yeah — pretty much everything in a can.

For those who say that you don’t buy canned products, no problem.  It’s in the plastic containers that your water is shipped and stored in leaching into the “clean” mineral, and spring waters we drink so religiously.  Therefore, we are imbibing this toxic chemical each and every time we drink that life-sustaining beverage.  A better alternative?  Drink filtered water and store it in a BPA-free water bottles such as Contigo, or a stainless steel water bottle, such as The Flow bottle.

Also, don’t put your plastic containers in the microwave as the microwaves will break down the plastic and allow BPA to leach into your food.  Fun, right?

However, this is what we are supposed to do.  Check our environment, and our daily actions, to ensure that we are living in harmony (as much as is possible in today’s world) with the earth and our bodies.

You can read more about BPA and what can happen to our bodies if we ingest too much of it here.  As noted earlier, babies and children are the most susceptible to BPA ingestion.

Ta-ta for now,



Weekend Inspiration: Intentions & Sisterhood

It has taken a full week for me to truly process and be able to speak about my participation in Start Within, Finish Strong!, a sisterhood New Moon event hosted by Coach Colette Ellis.  I am very glad I went as I had an uplifting inspiring afternoon filled with new thoughts, reminders of practices I used to do in my early 20’s, and nudges to release old behavior patterns that lived and breathed in my psyche’s blind spot.

Due to the busy morning I had last Saturday, 6/24, I arrived at the event 30 mins late.  I was bummed…until I walked into the heart meditation.

coach colette ellis

Coach Colette asked us to visualize the sister to our right and imagine her heart full of all of the love she has and how it fills her, and how that love can heal that woman, and all of the women in the room.  Then we were directed to imagine the woman on the left and visualize the same.  After that, we were to visualize the world, however that appears in our mind’s eye, and all of the sisterhood groups in the world doing the same new moon gathering.  To see and know that we are connected to these other groups and we are sharing our energies with them, and they with us.  To see our combined global energies healing the world.  It was a beautiful meditation!!

There was sharing afterwards about how we each felt and what we experienced during the meditation.  It was lovely to see how each woman had a different perspective and a different meditative experience!

Then we went into breathing with Amy Jindra of Choose Love.  Amy showed us four breathing techniques to help us energize and clear our chakras of stagnant energy.  These were powerful experiences that raised my inner fire and my body temperature!  These breathing techniques also flooded me with endorphins in a natural uplifting way.

amy jindra_choose love

Something key that Amy said during the sharing after the breathing exercises was this (my paraphrasing):

Find out where the fear lives in [your] body, recognize the fear feeling and sensations and do whatever is opposite of the emotions.  OR, step back, review the intuitive information, and then respond to the situation (never react).

This is very compelling yet difficult to do when in a moment that is full of emotion.  Yet, this is precisely what we should do; this is also a form of mindfulness.

Did I mention the pasta salad that Chef Allie Pisano prepared?  She kept people with food allergies/sensitivities in mind when she made a pasta salad made from Banza pasta (made from chickpea flour!) with walnuts and veggies.  [Did I mention she’s available to cook for your next event?  Or, just for you?]

Start Within_Pasta_6 24 2017

And the delicious healthy snacks were to die for!  Especially the Divine Chocolates!  I loved the Kale Chips covered in yummy goodness.

Start Within_Snack Table_6 24_17

Lauren Servin of DiLoren Acacia Silk was on hand providing facials to all participants using her company’s product Acacia Silk in which the main ingredient is desert date oil, aka dattier du desert oil.  This oil is rich and moisturizing without being heavy so it will not clog your pores, or leave you feeling oily.  This oil was found in the tombs of  the Ancient Egyptians.  They used it as a part of their beauty regimen.

start within_facial closeup_6 24 2017

The most gratifying portion of this half-day event was the section where we discussed our intentions for the upcoming month.  After a discussion about the New Moon in Cancer and what it could mean for each of us in our personal lives, we were asked to digest the information and create intentions for what we want to accomplish for this next month to continue our plans for the year.  This event is the half-way mark of the year and is meant to invigorate us and help propel us towards our annual goal(s).

There was also a crafting/vision board table for us to use while we set our intentions as well as a deck of Angel Dream cards to help pull down inspiration.  There was great conversation and networking  among the women as well as quiet reflection time, if you so chose.

start within_angel dream cards_6 24 2017

We closed with another breathing exercise from Amy; a Yes! breath that filled us with joy and a feeling of powerfulness.  I’m going  to leave you with my first impressions of this event…

  • Powerful
  • Energetic
  • Uplifting
  • Spiritual (in a non-religious way)
  • Creative
  • Nurturing
  • Helpful

I will definitely be at the next event which will be held on Thursday, July 27th, 2017. Will you be there?

My Thoughts 2 Weeks in on Green Cleaning Products

For two weeks and three days, I have been testing out some green household cleaning products by City Maid Green.  Their tagline is: Powered by plants.  Cute, catchy, environmentally alluring.

City Maid Green products_6 28 2017

Or, is it a bunch of fluff to capture the awareness of a particular demographic?  When you’ve only used Comet, bleach, Lysol, Windex, Fantastic, Mr. Clean, etc., this is actually a real concern.  You know, like I have.

For the first three days after I purchased City Maid Green’s Eucalyptus Mint Multi-Purpose Cleaner and their Lavender Multi-Purpose Cleaner, I left both untouched and unused.  I was absolutely petrified that these ‘plants’ would not remove germs and leave my house in a less than ideal condition.  I mean, come on!  All that’s in these cleaners are:

  • Water
  • Saponified Olive and Coconut Oil
  • Borax
  • Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Essential Oils

Okay.  But, what the heck is saponification anyway?  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary states that to saponify means, “to convert (something, such as fat) into soap; specifically to hydrolyze (a fat) with alkali to form a soap or glycerol.”  Okay, good.  Next question, what is the compound used to start the saponification process?  In bar soaps, NaOH, or lye.  In liquid soaps/cleaners, it is potassium hydroxide (KOH).  What?!  This sounds un-natural to use lye, or potassium hydroxide in a natural product.  However, what my brain did not initially compute is that this is a chemical reactionThere is but so much that can be done to avoid getting to certain compounds, such as soap and cleaners, without using actual science.  I checked around to see what else can be used and I kept seeing KOH and NaOH no matter where I looked even on the From Nature With Love website.  FNWL (a wholesale brand) offers a full range of organic, natural and essential personal care items.  FNWL also prides itself on its green initiatives including “harnessing 100% clean energy to power its 30,000 square foot corporate headquarters.”

Alright.  KOH won’t kill me! 🙂 [And, when we use bar soap, in the saponification process it is calculated to burn off the lye so it will not end up in the final product — the bar of soap you use on your skin.  That’s a relief! (If you click the NaOH link above, you can read up on the actual process by reading the saponification lab experiment.)]

Now, back to City Maid Green.  Once my mind was at ease that I wouldn’t kill myself, or my family, via this previously un-heard of saponification process, I tried it out in the bathroom face basin.

It smelled clean, fresh and did a pretty darn good job of cleaning the soap scum off.  In fact, the sheeting action we all know all love to let us know surfaces are clean.  Here is the best explanation I found to describe why we love “sheeting action” taken from Chemical & Engineering News (Dec 3, 2001, Vol 79, Number 49)

The surfactant breaks the surface tension of water droplets, flattening them and allowing the water to run down in the form of a sheet. The phenomenon is called sheeting action. Those droplets contain soap scum; oils and debris from the body; and salts of calcium, magnesium, or iron. If allowed to dry on their own, the droplets will leave residues that would build up over time. The chelating agent sequesters the ions of these salts, rendering them soluble. The alcohol helps to dissolve all the ingredients in water and to remove oily human debris.

While we are not discussing shower cleaning products (read: traditional chemical cleaning products), the sheeting action description remains the same and  is what we, as consumers and home cleaners, still want to see to know that our surfaces are clean!

I can tell you that City Maid Green’s 2 products that I used do work and provide sheeting action in the face basin and in the bathtub (yes, the one that gets the biggest ring!).  Sure, you do have to put in a bit of extra elbow grease but for a home that is clean, that does not have chemical (read: noxious) fumes emanating from the place cleaned for several hours after use — it’s worth it!

Before, when I used traditional cleaners, my children could smell that I was cleaning before they opened the front door; they could smell the bleach from outside our home.

Now, they smell eucalyptus, mint, lavender and tea tree oil!  Much nicer, and much easier on the lungs and body.  (You can see we love it because both bottles are almost finished!)

Two weeks later, I am comfortable enough to try other green products such as Mrs. Meyers, or J.R. Watkins Aloe and Green Tea Window Cleaner.  Real Simple
magazine has a great piece about 8 green cleaning products that I am planning on taking a look at very soon.  Here’s  the link: