Organic & Green Savings: CVS, Whole Foods & Bethesda’s Giant Food

May 31st, 2009

It’s been a while since the last Green and Organic Savings feature. With all this child advocacy, green activism, and taking care of clients, I’ve not had time for long, leisurely shopping trips. Mr. OrganicMania has picked up the slack, but that’s going to change.

Anyway, this week, you didn’t even need to make it to the stores to see some fabulous deals at Whole Foods, Safeway and CVS, thanks in part to some old-fashioned direct mail pieces and newspaper inserts.

CVS has an incredible deal running on Physician’s Formula make-up. With your CVS card, you can buy one, get 50% off one Physicians Formula cosmetic. And check your newspaper coupon insert today. The Sunday Washington Post has a $1 off coupon for Physicians Formula. As I blogged here, not all of their products score the best ratings in the Cosmetics Safety database, but five of their 185 products score “low hazard” ratings, so OrganicMania recommends you try these Physicians Formula products: liquid eyeliner, finishing veil, pressed powder, concealer stick, and extra sensitive skin sunblock. If you have questions, you can check out their ratings at the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database here.

Next time you’re in Whole Foods, be sure to use the Green & Black’s $1 off coupon from the Whole Foods Whole Deal newsletter (good through July). I’ve raved before about Green & Black’s delicious organic chocolate here at OrganicMania, over at Big Green Purse, and at The Daily Green, but since it’s nearly summer I decided to try their ice cream. Wow. It’s fantastic! Thanks again to my bloggy friend Wrekehavoc for turning me on to Green & Blacks Organic!

If you’re anywhere near Bethesda, be sure to check out the Arlington Road Giant, which is running a triple coupon deal through June 4th.  You can find the triple savings coupons in a newsprint mailer sent to area homes. Now of course you don’t want to use those coupons for junk food, so I decided to scour the net to look for organic coupons for under $1 each that could be used at Giant to qualify for triple savings. The Giant deal means you can save up to $2.97 on each of five items, for $14.85 in savings! After looking at national organic brands with distribution at Giant including Stonyfield, Ian’s, Newman’s Own, Green & Black’s, Amy’s Organic, Annie’s Naturals and Earthbound Farm, incredibly I could only find valid online coupons (those under $1) at Stonyfield Farm. (Disclosure: Stonyfield is a sponsor of OrganicMania’s trip to BlogHER, but honestly I couldn’t find valid under $1 coupons anywhere else! Leave a comment some if you happen to find them!)

Stonyfield has 14 different online coupons available including .50 off their new Oikos organic Greek yogurt, as well as organic milk, Yo Baby, Smoothies and more. You need to register here before accessing the e-coupons.

Did you find any other great deals on organic and green products? Leave a comment and share!

Note: I’m looking for two additional sponsors to help defray the cost of my BlogHER trip. If you represent a sustainable brand that you think may be a good fit with OrganicMania, please email me at organicmania at gmail dot com.

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

SeeJaneDo? Hear Lynn ( OrganicMania), Jennifer ( The Smart Mama), and Lisa (@enviroblog) Talk!

May 29th, 2009

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I’m the worst when it comes to posting press interviews. One would think I would have this down by now since it’s part of what I do for a living, but I always wind up feeling awkward about doing so (only when it comes to me, of course, not my clients!)

Anyway, after a month’s delay and with great apologies to Elisa Parker, producer and host of See Jane Do, here is a link to the interview posted about the online green activism practiced by the women at the Green Moms Carnival. Joining me in the interview is Green Moms Carnival Founding Member, author, environmental expert, and XRF-gun wielding lead-toy-tester Jennifer Taggert – also known as The Smart Mama – and Lisa Frack, online parent organizer at The Environmental Working Group. You can click here for a podcast of the interview which was broadcast on community radio station KVMR.

See Jane Do is the newest program program launched by nationally acclaimed community radio station KVMR, which documentary filmmaker Michael Moore calls “the best public radio station in America.” Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, See Jane Do is being distributed to a national audience. Their focus is on ”capturing the stories of everyday women doing extraordinary things for the planet.” The producers have already gotten some fabulous interviews archived on line with fellow Green Moms Carnival Founding Member Diane MacEachern, author of The Big Green Purse; Chef Ann (transformed school lunches with Alice Waters), Joan Blades of MomsRising.org and MoveOn.org, Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer and Anya Fernald, director of Slow Food Nation.

Check it out!

Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

Gardening with the Green Moms: Talk About Stress Relief!

May 28th, 2009

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Did this photo make you smile? Admittedly, I’m biased since that’s my “Baby Boo,” but how could it not make you smile?

That’s one of the greatest things about gardening (and children). They bring us so many smiles. And when our lives are full of the hectic everyday busyness that is modern life, plus the unexpected curve balls that life lobs at you every now and then, well, who couldn’t use some stress relief?

Want to know how to get started with your spring garden? Check out a round-up of great gardening posts from the Green Moms Carnival over at Green and Clean Mom. My own post about recycled seed starter pots was belatedly added to the carnival after its launch, because I was …well…stressed out dealing with child advocacy and green advocacy issues; an elderly, sick mother; stitches for Baby Boo; and the everyday craziness that all of us face as parents.

Have you started a garden yet? It’s not too late! Leave a comment and share!

And if you just can’t get around to it this year, take a walk and go enjoy someone else’s garden!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009 .

The Toxic Tub Report: An Update

May 26th, 2009

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In case you missed the news over the Memorial Day weekend, take a look at this excellent reporting from the Associated Press on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics continued efforts to get 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde out of baby products. Late last week the Campaign delivered a letter to Johnson & Johnson’s CEO asking that J&J reformulate its personal care products to ensure they are free of 1,4-dioxane, phase out phthalates from its products,  reformulate its products to avoid the use of Quaternium-15 and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and to switch to safer preservatives. (The last one shouldn’t be too hard since J&J is already selling formaldehyde-free versions of its products in Japan, where formaldehyde is banned in personal care products).

Click here to view the letter.

Back in April, the Green Moms Carnival blogged about this very issue – probable human carcinogens in children’s products. After that carnival, the industry spokespeople who somehow couldn’t find the time to directly answer our questions – even when we called and emailed – found the time to leave snarky comments on our blogs. You can read all about this here and here.

What’s happened since then?
- In late April, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Safe Baby Products Act, which directs the FDA to investigate and regulate hazardous contaminants in personal care products marketed to or used by children.
- A National Cancer Institute study reinforcing the link between cancer and formaldehyde was published in late May. Read more here.

No sooner was I done reading the great press coverage than I received an email from the Campaign, which reads in part:

“Normally a letter like this wouldn’t raise much interest, but clearly people are outraged that such a trusted product as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo could contain carcinogens. I think the Green Moms Carnival was really helpful in tipping parents off to this problem when we released the “Toxic Tub” report in March – thank you. We’re hopeful that the company will reconsider its position that “a little bit” of a carcinogen is nothing to worry about.

Thanks for your good work.”

Marisa Walker

Communications manager

Breast Cancer Fund

www.breastcancerfund.org

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

www.safecosmetics.org

I was so thrilled to receive this note that I called Marisa to speak to her about the Campaign, and to thank her for taking the time to send this note to us. I’m very proud of the great work done by my friends at The Green Moms Carnival. Thanks again to all of you who participated in the Toxic Tub Carnival, which was hosted by Sommer at Green and Clean Mom. Thanks to: Jennifer our Smart Mama, Beth of Fake Plastic Fish, Jess from The Green Phone Booth, MaryAnne Conlin (aka @mcmilker) from EcoChild’s Play, Jennifer of The Green Parent, Katherine from the Safe Mama, Anna from Green Talk, Alicia from The Soft Landing, Karen from Best of Mother Earth, Micaela from Mindful Momma, Katy from Non-Toxic Kids, Diane from Big Green Purse, Alline of Passion for Green Business, Christine Gardner of moregreenmoms, Tiffany of Nature Moms, and of course, Sommer of Green and Clean Mom.

We’re not there yet, but what progress!

And that picture of J&J Baby Shampoo? How ironic that as I pulled up a stool at a neighbor’s home this afternoon, my view was of …well, what’s in that stuff anyway?

– Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

To Be an Advocate for Your Child

May 21st, 2009

What parent hasn’t heard these words? “Be an advocate for your child.” But what does it really mean?

When my 6-year-old started first grade, I kept hearing those words over and over again from parents with children in the public school system.

“Be an advocate for your child.”

And I wondered…what did people really mean when they said that?

Now I know. And I’m here to tell you, this is what it means:

- Talk to your child about his day at school.
- Visit the classroom.
- Ask questions.
- Follow-up.
- If something doesn’t seem quite right to you, talk to the teacher. Talk to other parents. Talk to the principal. Talk to the PTA. Explore the formal complaint process in your school district.
- Follow your gut.
- Use technology to your advantage: ask questions on listservs. Email your questions to other parents. Do research on-line.

By rights, I should have been blogging about gardening again, and sending my post off to my friend Sommer for this month’s Green Moms Carnival. But instead, I was learning what it meant to be an advocate for my child.

What’s been your experience with advocating for your child? Leave a comment and share!

More later -

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

GreenHour Moms

May 17th, 2009

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Have you heard of GreenHour? It’s a program by the National Wildlife Federation designed to encourage parents to give their kids some outside time each day. They’ve got a cool website with all kinds of resources for parents, where they’ve been featuring a bunch of Green Moms on their site. Last week was Mary Quattlebaum, one of my favorite children’s book authors; the week prior featured an interview with fellow Green Moms Carnival members Renee Limon and Heather Hawkins of Enviromom, and this week is yours truly!

Check it out and get outside today! (Yes, even with the rain…just pretend you’re in London!)

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Kids’ Birthday Parties: Eco-Green versus Eco-Cheap?

May 16th, 2009

Kids’ birthday parties always seem to pose a dilemma, whether you’re hosting them or attending them. These days, parents send out invites with everything from “Amazon Wish Lists” to “Please No Gifts” directives.

It’s Saturday today, which means I’ve got plenty of company as parents everywhere negotiate party drop-off times and gifts.

After my 4th cup of latte this morning, it occurred to me that Big Boy didn’t have a present to bring to his first grade classmate’s Pokemon Birthday Party this afternoon.

“No problem!” exclaimed Big Boy.

He disappeared into his room, reappearing several minutes later with two Pokemon cards.

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“I’ll give him these! Two of my Pokemon cards!”

At our house, we treasure the concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Obviously, Big Boy has this down pat. But what about the Birthday Boy and his family?

Immediately I wondered… will we look cheap? Is this strange to bring old Pokemon cards to a party? Or is this a great opportunity to put our core beliefs into practice? Is this a gift from the heart? Is Big Boy really parting with a cherished Pokemon card, or is he simply passing along something that doesn’t have a good HP?

On the flip side, if I insist that we buy a new present, what does that teach my son? I can imagine my words coming back to haunt me through Big Boy. “Well, Mama, if we have to drive to get a present for him, that’s not really eco-green is it? Because then you’re wasting gas, and that’s not eco-green, is it? Huh? HUH?”

So…here we go….here’s hoping the birthday boy’s family cherishes the 3Rs too….or can put up with some slightly strange new friends!

What’s been your experience with the whole birthday party dance?

Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

There’s No Excuse Now: Great Resources for Bike To Work Day

May 14th, 2009

Friday the 15th is National Bike to Work Day, and if you’ve been thinking that you can’t possibly figure out how to bike to work, you might want to skip reading this post, because soon you’ll have no more excuses!

Here are just a few reasons to bike to work: you’ll do your part to help ease traffic and parking congestion, and to improve air quality. You’ll find it an easy way to work off stress and calories. And it’s less expensive than driving or taking mass transit! What could be greener, healthier or cheaper than that?

If you live or work in Bethesda, you’re in for a real treat. Friday morning from 6:30 am. to 8:30 a.m. there is a Bike-to-Work Day celebration at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues, complete with free breakfast treats, entertainment, and even a chance to win a new bicycle! But be sure to register here.

Bike to Work Day

Did you know you can bike to work in Bethesda in under 30 minutes from as far away as Dupont Circle, Silver Spring, Potomac, Rockville, or Takoma Park? Check out this chart of approximate cycling distance and time from these and other locations in the DC region.

Wondering where to park your bike? Again, no excuses! Did you know that there are more than 80 bike racks located throughout downtown Bethesda? Check out this map to find one closest to your office.

Did this post help encourage you to bike to work? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

The Carnival of the Green #179

May 11th, 2009

Welcome to the Carnival of the Green! This is my first time hosting, and already I have two lessons learned:

1) Don’t sign-up to host a carnival on the Monday after a holiday weekend unless you want to spend all weekend working on the submissions you’ll start receiving on Friday; and

2) Don’t let anyone convince you to put in an “easy” WordPress upgrade right before your post is due!

So apologies for not getting this up earlier, but yes, I did enjoy the weekend, and yes, I need to learn more about WordPress!

But seriously, if you are interested in hosting some time, you can check out the master calendar at Treehugger here. And thanks again to the host of last week’s carnival, Go Green Travel Green, and to the host of the next carnival, which will run on May 18th at Ethical Superstore.

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What a week for a carnival! We had a ton of submissions! So grab a cup of organic tea, coffee, juice, beer or wine – your pleasure – and kick back, and relax!

Save (a little bit) of the World is a post that can be hard to read at times, but the author speaks the truth about what’s wrong with today’s society. She also offers some concrete suggestions for change, an approach that was echoed by several other submissions for this week’s carnival. The Tao of Simplicity shares 10 Ways to Go Green to Help the Environment. Five Cent Nickel shares his tips for Going off the Grid - a very thought provoking post. And J to the izoe shares the secret we’ve all been looking for: how to finally stop “The Talking Phone Book” from being delivered to your house year after year. What a waste of paper, ink, and time! My new pal Condo Blues shares some simple gardening tips and great photos in: Can’t Compost? Use Coffee and Eggs Instead! Elena EcoDiva shares six ways to get green and gorgeous for under $20.

Following up last week’s post about factory farms and swine flu, Sally Kneidel has a new post about swine flu. Experts say swine flu is likely to return this winter, and perhaps spread much more aggressively then. Why? Because we’re all cooped up together in buildings? Nope. Recent research has revealed just why serious flu outbreaks are almost all in cold weather. Has nothing to do with being crowded inside! What is it, then? Read and see .

Did you know May is National Bike Month? My friend Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish wants you to try biking this month! Beth’s favorite method of transit is riding her bike. While bike riding is “green” in and of itself, this post includes resources for lowering your bike’s impact even further. And if you find that biking suits you, why not start using your bike for your morning and evening commute? True Adventures in Money Hacking shares commuter tips in: How to Commute by Bike.

Well, you can be excused if you didn’t know May was National Bike Month. But tell me you didn’t know it was time to put in the garden! Let The Happy Redneck show you How Gardening Can Be A Snap! And once you get out in the garden, you may have to put up with some bugs. Alex from HomeLifeWeekly.com shares a “recipe” for natural ant killing spray.

After reading HomesteaderBelle’s submission about the joys of goat milk and simple living, I had a craving for goat milk ice cream!

The Parade of Homes recently kicked off in Orlando. Running from May 3-17, six of the 70 homes showcased this year are totally green! Not only that, dozens have green features! This is fantastic, because it means green is no longer a trend – it is here to stay & be integrated into home building for years to come!

All of us greenies know that low-flow showerheads are the eco-savvy choice. But this post from moolanomy.com makes a good case for how they can save the other kind of green too — your hard earned money.

Perhaps you can use the green you save from going green to travel to far off lands (if you travel sustainably, natch!) This week, we received two interesting posts about international environmental issues – the first, Pollution in a Promised Land, runs on the Jewish Climate Initiative blog, and the second, from The Travel Expert, is about sustainability certification programs in Costa Rica.Fortunately, if you’re thinking of taking off for parts unknown, you can check out this Go Green Travel Green review of  Kleen Kanteen stainless steel water bottles. Added bonus for travel: they now make a wine carafe! Who knew?

Thanks for hosting!

I know plenty of women named Cindy, but no one named “Recycled Cindy,” at least until now! “Recycled Cindy” shares a recycled crafting project – how-to instructions to make a recycled plastic bracelet crocheted from plastic bags and other upcycled plastic materials.

From the safety and security of crafting to the dangers of sharks – it’s a crazy green carnival this time ’round! Check out this post from David of Southern Friend Science. Did you know that there are four things everyone needs to know about sharks? Actually, I did. The “Green Moms and Dads” of elementary school age children probably all passed the four question test with flying colors, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading 100 or so shark books in the last year, please check it out! Seriously, it’s a great post!

Hope you enjoyed the Carnival!

– Lynn

Nielsen’s Power Mom 50 & Me

May 10th, 2009

Twitter was buzzing on Friday about a new BrandWeek article on the power of “Digital Moms.” Another Nielsen Online study was out, and I was thinking that I really needed to read it for the benefit of my clients… Imagine my surprise when just a few hours later I received an email from my green mom friend @mcmilker with subject line: You Power Mom – You!!

I laughed.

Of course, I was thrilled too, to be named to this list of influential bloggers. What a great Mother’s Day gift!

But Power and Moms? Those two words are rarely used together. The Moms I know all feel just the opposite – powerless. Powerless over the craziness that comes with raising kids. The unpredictability of a good night’s sleep, the near-certainty that if you purchase non-refundable tickets to anything, your child will fall ill…the sudden realization that once you have kids, you really can’t control anything anymore.

But the fact is, Corporate America knows the power of moms’ collective purchasing power. Nearly $2 trillion a year is spent by Moms, who control 85% of household spending, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition.

And where did I fit into all this? If anything, I’ve slowed my spending since leaving corporate America behind to start my consulting practice. But I spend a lot of time – on Twitter, through the Green Moms Carnival, during interviews, and here on OrganicMania and other blogs- advising women on which green and organic products are worth purchasing.

OrganicMania was included in Nielsen Online’s Power Mom 50 “mamaste” category of “mom bloggers who stretch beyond their spheres to explore going green, travel and spirituality,” along with fellow Green Mom carnival member Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom and several other bloggers I’ll have to get to know: Traveling Mamas, Mormon Mommy Wars, Travel Savvy Mom, More than Words, Mom of Faith, and Happy, Healthy Hip.

I’m thrilled to be a “Power Mom.” Thanks to all who have supported me on this blogging journey, especially my sisters-in-arms at The Green Moms Carnival and @GreenMoms. Check out Nielsen’s Power Mom 50 report here.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania