BYO Water with Brita – and provide clean water with ME to WE

BritaMEtoWEIt’s become a habit in our family, and it’s a good one: we fill up a bottle of water to take with us before we go anywhere. We get thirsty, there might not be a water fountain where we’re going, and it gives me physical pain to buy bottled water for any reason. Today, on World Water Day, it’s worthwhile to remember that when it comes to water, we are the luckiest people in the world: We have clean, treated, safe water coming from our taps for pennies a glass. There’s no need to buy water at a huge markup in a petroleum-made plastic bottle that’s been trucked across the country. Just remember to bring your own. (more…)

Untangled Living

As a new(ish) mom, it’s really hard to know what you’re going to actually need for your kid. And when. And once you figure out that you need something, there’s usually about 15 different versions of that thing, and you don’t know what’s really good until you get the chance to try it out, and then you end up with a bunch of said item that you don’t like and one you do, so the one gets used and the rest get piled somewhere. (Much to the chagrin of my husband.)

So, I’m here to tell you, that here’s one item you will love.

Untangled Living creates stainless steel children’s dishware. They very kindly sent me a set to test way too long ago, ha. But at the time I received it, my kid wasn’t interested in using cups or bowls or plates or utensils; only now at 13 months is she starting to show some indication that she gets the concept that things like food go inside other things like bowls as opposed to just flinging it across the room. Now that she can be trusted within some level of reasonableness to not just tip her cheerios out of the bowl the second I give it to her, we’re able to use it. Hooray!

The set comes with a kid-sized square plate, little bowl, little cup and a knife and fork.  They’re very simply decorated with either a little gecko or a little butterfly (score big points for tasteful kids’ stuff!) and are perfectly sized for little hands. The plate I particularly love, because it isn’t just a flat plate: it has a nice wide lip all around the edge to keep things from falling off (at least, not falling off *easily*). They’re lightweight, dishwasher safe, totally non-breakable (hear that, glass?) and almost 100% perfect. The only downside: when they do hit the floor they’re kind of loud. But my daughter sees that as an upside, actually, so.

The set retails for $44 CDN. You can order the butterfly or the gecko set (or both!) from their online store, or from one of their fantastic retailers.

But you know what? I have one to give you. Aww. Just go to the Untangled Living website and come back here and tell me in the comments what your favourite part of Untangled Living is by Wednesday, August 25. Make sure you leave me an email address (if you put it in the format name AT domain DOT com it can’t be scraped by a spammer) or another way to contact you. Good luck!

Benjamin Moore Natura: Gorgeous Paint, No VOCs!

In the neverending quest to actually get this joint in shape prior to ecobaby making an appearance, we’ve been anxiously comparing paint chips, wondering what the best colour is – and once we figured that out, we also had to decide on the right paint. Luckily, one google search brought us to Benjamin Moore Natura. This Award-winning product is one of the few “no-VOC” paints available on the market – not only looking at VOCs, but also at all volatile compounds in the paint that would affect indoor air quality. Both the paint and the tint emit lower total volatile compounds than any other national zero-VOC product in Canada.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Well, low- and no-VOC paint tends to dry a bit quicker than many other paints, so it’s a consideration when you’re applying it. But other than that it works just like “regular” latex paint, with one big difference: The smell is far lower. Even after just having applied two coats, a room painted with Natura has as much paint smell as a room painted a week ago with regular paint. Which is great when you’ve got paranoid pregnant people around!

In Primer, Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss and able to be tinted to any colour in the Benjamin Moore Collection, Natura is an easy choice to make for eco-friendly home designers. Check out Benjamin Moore’s Website for retailers.

Etsy goodness: Reusable Java Jackets

Pedro is a little disgruntled.

But you won’t be if you pick up one of these nifty Java Jackets from Kasanika’s Etsy shop. These wicked little hand-knit wool coffee sleeves are reusable, 100% washable, and will save paper every time you don’t take a paper coffee sleeve or a second coffee cup to protect your hands from your too-hot java.

Made in a smoke-free but black-lab-friendly environment in Vancouver, these whimsical little guys come in various colours and patterns to suit any fancy. And with prices ranging from $9 to $11, or in other words the price of about two triple venti vanilla lattes, it’s definitely in the budget.

Check out Kasanika’s shop on Etsy or read her blog today!

Green Your Decor écologique Book Giveaway

Green Your Decor was a recent find and one I’m enjoying tremendously. The awesome and amazing Jennae writes this excellent blog, which is the perfect combination of eco-friendliness, style and interior decorating pizazz. In her own words:

Green Your Decor is your one-stop guide for all things “green” for your home, from rugs and wall art to linens, appliances and paint. Every day, I will scour the web for these products and present them to you, along with their “green” qualities and links to where you can buy them.

The goal is to demonstrate that style and quality can also be sustainable, and we all can reduce our carbon footprints, not only in well-known choices like turning off lights and driving less often, but also in the products that we purchase.

If you don’t have Green Your Decor in your feed reader yet – add it, and if you’re a Twitterer you can follow her there too to get the latest updates on what she’s posting.

Today she’s posted an awesome guest post and giveaway – Kelly laPlante, author of new book écologique: the style of sustainable design, talks about how she originally started in the eco-friendly business and how she maintains her environmental principles of “reuse as the first step” and “gorgeous green materials to carry the designs to completion”. They’re giving away a copy of écologique and I was tempted to not post this giveaway because I WANT THE BOOK SO BADLY, but that would be un-ecochick like. So head on over to this post and find out how to enter the giveaway, and good luck!

Flip and Tumble Bag Giveaway!

And the winners: Jamie who said “Too cool!! I love the lime green!!”, Joanne who said “I would love to have one of these bags! Really enjoy reading your blog too!”and Sassymonkey who said “Ohh those are darned cute! Love the lime! (I’m a bit of a green girl…)”! Email me at talk at ecochick dot ca and send me your address!

So. Excited!

A package arrived at ecochick headquarters today, containing a bunch of soft, squashy, lightweight, colorful balls. Balls you can easily chuck into your handbag and not even notice, until you find yourself at a checkout and in need of a bag – and then you reach in and dig it out and pop it open and voila! Useful, big, uber-fun bag. And when you’re done, you can squash it into a little ball again, ready for the next trip. How cool is that?

These soft, colorful balls are from the awesome chicks at Flip and Tumble – and ecochick has three to give away!

The bags cost $12 each on their website and come in a wide range of colours. Shipping to Canada costs a bit, but if you go in on an order with a few friends you can spread the shipping costs around – and having my hands on these bags, I can say that they are definitely worth the purchase. After I use the rest of my reusable bags, I hang them at the door to take with me next time I go out – and I forget them a lot more than I should. After I use these, putting them away will involve automatically crumpling them up and chucking them in my handbag, so I will never be stuck bagless again. And, they are in very cool, hip colours, which makes them awesomely fun to use.

You want a Flip and Tumble 24-7 bag from ecochick? Then comment on this post by Friday, June 13, telling me what your favourite bag colour is from their website. If your name is one of the lucky giveaway recipients, I’ll do my best to accommodate your favourite colour (no guarantees)! Make sure you check back after the 15th to see if you’re getting a bag – I’ll need you to send me your mailing address.

Or, if you can’t stand the odds, you can head over to their website and order a whole bunch on your own. Thanks to the ladies at Flip and Tumble for letting us know about their product!

UPDATED: I just got back from a trip to pick up food and booze. I used my bags. And people were totally staring covetously as I flipped open my little green ball and – voila – packed away my apples. LOVE these bags!

One Good Chair Design Competition


From Inhabitat: the One Good Chair design competition is on! The one good chair competition is all about rethinking how things are designed, not just what they’re made out of. They’re inviting designers to consider form and function, to think about what will truly make an eco-chair both comfortable and beautiful. Take a fresh eye to the furniture you use every day, and see what you can come up with. They’ll be looking at the following criteria:

  • Make good (Material conservation). How can shape optimize resources in design, fabrication, and shipping? What forms create little waste but lots of taste?
  • Feel good (Physical comfort). How can shape aid the body in the act of sitting? How do different people sit? How might they?
  • Look good (Emotional resonance). What kinds of images create emotional bond between viewer and product? What is the intersection of sustainability and sensuality?

There’s a cash prize of $4500 to the winning entry, and there’s still time to register by May 30.