Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Green Beauty Guide

Mom started reading this book the other day and she is already convinced that it is the must have book for everyone. I don't use any beauty products other than shampoo (which I try to get out of using as much as possible), but Mom, being Mom, uses the usual stuff and has been making changes for the past few years to more natural products. The book has added fuel to the fire and now Mom is on a mission to take her beauty regime to the next step.

The Green Beauty Guide is not about makeup, but about all the ingredients that are in the products people use every day - so called beauty products. The real message of the book is that you must read the product labels of everything you put on your body and to educate yourself about the ingredients containted in the products. It's funny how people these days are so concerned about what they put in their bodies, but most never give a second thought to what they put on their bodies. The skin is an amazing organ that absorbs most of what is applied to it, so understanding the what and how of what goes on is important because most of what goes on it ends up in it.

After an introduction about the nature of skin, the author delves into the toxic ingredients contained in most beauty products. The ingredients include 1,4-Dioxane which the author calls the silent killer, phthalates (which Mom calls her asthma killer), aluminum, and propylene glycol to name a few. It looks like you have to be a chemist to fully understand these ingredients, but the author does a great job of breaking them down into laymans terms. There is also an appendix of the 100 toxic cosmetic ingredients you don't want in your beauty products.

The section on how to become an ingredients list expert will probably be most useful to most. The author complied twelve lessons in smart beauty shopping that tells you what to look for and what to avoid. Equally as important is the section on understanding green beauty. Should you always buy organic beauty products? What are non-GMO products? How can I afford all this 'good for me stuff' without going broke? These questions are discussed in a clear and concise manner so that you will know where your money is best spent. The author doesn't tell you which specific products to purchase, however she does make some recommendations and even interviews some green beauty product creators.

The best part of the whole book and where it really pays for itself is in the do-it-yourself section. Why buy beauty products when you can make them at home? The list of green beauty ingredients is extensive but readable. You probably have most of these products in your kitchen already, so why not use them on your skin? There are recipes for cleansers, toners, home facials, moisturizers, sun protection, body care, hair care, baby care, makeup, and fragrances. You can literally whip up some great green beauty in your kitchen that is as good if not better for you than most products you can buy.

Mom has not finished reading this book, but has skimmed through it several times already. There is so much information contained in these 400 pages, that you will need several packs of note sticks and more than one highlighter to get through it all. If you know someone that is interested in green beauty, then this book is for them. Even if you don't know someone who is interested in this topic, but you are, then share your knowledge with them. The old saying "What you don't know won't hurt you" has never been a bigger lie.

Okay, I am going to finish with a few very scarry quotes from the book. I was shocked when Mom read them to me and I know you will be too.

"About 90 percent of cosmetic ingredients have never been analyzed for health impacts."

"Beauty producs are evaluated for safety after they are released to the marketplace."

In sixty-seven years, the FDA has banned or restricted only nine personal care ingredients."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Awards For Me?

I could not believe my eyes when I read Henry's blog this morning. His blog is the first one I read every morning when I log on to my computer and he makes me laugh every single day.

Henry is very popular in the blogging community and I'm not just talking about with the dogs. He has so many fans that I don't know how he keeps up with everything. He has received many awards, but he is not the type to pass things on and I completely respect that. But yesterday was different. He received two awards and passed them on to all his doggy pals. Since I am one of his pals, I received the awards. Not only that, I was first on the list of doggy pals and Henry said "Stubby’s a real ‘eco warrior’ and very good pal." OMG! I am so honored to receive these awards, but even more so because they came from my good pal Henry who kind words made Mom cry.

Now for the awards. I would like to thank the Academy for recognizing my work throughout the year - no, no, no. Not that kind of award. Even better than that. The first one is the Premio Dardos Award. Premio Dardos means 'prize darts' in Spanish and the award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. Whew! What a mouthful! I can't believe that I would ever be given an award like this. Mom always tells me that I'm a good writer, but I guess I never believed her until now. This award is a lot to live up to, but I will do my best to keep doing what I've been doing and maybe even turn it up a notch.

The second award is the coffee cup award and this is awarded to blogs that one couldn't miss each morning. I don't even drink coffee and I don't think Henry does either, but that's not the point of this award. I am humbled to think that my good buddy Henry wakes up to my blog each day. He sees my smiling pug face and reads about eco issues (or about me), to start his day off with a bang.

Now for the hard part. I need to pass these awards along. I am not as popular as Henry, nor do I have as many doggy pals, but I do have a few pals I would like to pass these awards on to.

Pearl - I sometimes call Pearl my girlfriend because she is just the sweetest thing. I love reading about her antics and her shartwork can't be beat. She is a free spirit who lives life to the fullest.

Salinger - I have not officially added this guy to my blogroll, but that's only because I can't remember to after I read his blog. This guy cracks me up! Mom says that he has the deepest frown she has ever seen on a pug and I think she is secretly in love with him.

Pugsley - This is another blog I am not officially following, but I visit his blog every single day. This guy gets to do such cool stuff like go to work and visit the dog bakery. He is very handsome, just like me, so Mom likes him.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lights Out Tonight at 8:30!

Tonight at 8:30pm, you have the opportunity to make your voice hear around the globe. No matter where you live on planet Earth, at 8:30pm please turn off your lights to join the world for Earth Hour.

Dubbed the world's first global election, between Earth and global warming, Earth Hour sends a very powerful message that we are serious about ending global warming. Everyone has the opportunity to vote simply by switching off their lights for one hour. How simple is that?

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for one hour. In 2008, Earth Hour had grown into a global sustainability movement and 50 million people switched off their lights. Landmarks around the globe went dark for one hour, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Rome's Colosseum and the Sydney Opera House. Here in Chicago, we kept 840,000 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere and in Toronto, there was an 8.7% reduction in energy use.

The goal of Earth Hour 2009 is to have 1 billion people switch off their lights. The results from this year's Earth Hour will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year. This important meeting is where official government policies will be determined to take action against global warming. These policies will ultimately replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to Vote Earth during Earth Hour 2009. We all have a vote, so please use yours to help the cause. We are all in this together and we must take action now so that future generations will have a place to call home. Please spread the word about Earth Hour and Vote Earth so that everyone you know will cast their vote tonight for this great global cause.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

R.I.P. Kipper

Mom just told me that Kipper, a 9-year-old chimp at her zoo, died on Tuesday in the zoo hospital from pneumonia. He was the youngest member of Hank's group, the chimp group on exhibit at the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes. Even though I've never met Kipper, I am saddened by his death.

Kipper and the other members of his group got sick last week with a mysterious upper respiratory infection. Why is it mysterious? Because no one knows where it came from. Zookeepers follow very strict protocols when dealing with primates because they can transmit diseases to the animals and vice-versa. It is possible that an infected animal like a squirrel could have passed something on to the chimps. Mom thinks this may be a possibility because a chimp in Hank's group has been known to kill squirrels and then drape them over their shoulders like a cape. How silly is that? The chimp habitat has big glass doors that are open to the outside on nice days so that the chimps can go outside at their leisure. Likewise, animals like birds, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks, etc. can also come inside.

The chimps began displaying flu-like symptons last Thursday. Mom did not visit them when she was there on Friday because she was busy with a tour and with some snakes. The chimps were still on exhibit on Friday, but taken off exhibit and put in quarantine over the weekend as their conditions worsened.

Kipper had a congenital condition that zoo officials think may have decreased the pumping capacity of his lungs. He took a turn for the worse on Monday and was transferred to the hospital. Mom has been in the hospital and says that it is really cool. Did you know that every animal at the zoo goes to the hospital once a year for a complete physical?

Kipper was watched around the clock after arriving at the hospital and appeared to be doing better, until he was left alone for 20 minutes. When someone arrived to check on him, he had stopped breathing and could not be revived.

The rest of Hank's group are still ill and in isolation so they don't infect other chimps and gorillas in the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes. They are all being watched very closely and none of them are seriously ill. Thankfully, none of the other chimps and gorillas have shown any symptoms of illness.

Mom wants everyone to know that zookeepers take great care of their animals. The animals are treated like family, so the death of an animal is like a death in the family. The zoo did all it could to save Kipper, but like Mom always says, when it's your time, it's your time. Kipper will be remembered by everyone that visited him at the zoo and by chimp lovers everywhere.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shopper's Guide To Pesticides

Lowering your consumption of pesticides is a must and even if you've never thought about it before, please start now. Pesticides are harmful to your health and can cause long term damage to vital organs. I know what you're thinking. You want to lower your consumption of pesticides, but you don't know which fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of pesticides. Lucky for you the people at the Environmental Working Group developed this downloadable guide for you to take on your weekly shopping trips.

This handy little guide contains information on the 'dirty dozen' and the 'clean fifteen' - fruits and vegetables that contain high and low amounts of pesticides. In addition to the handy shopping guide, there is a full list of 47 fruits and vegetables on the website. Armed with the knowledge of which foods are laden with pesticides, you can make better decisions about your food purchases. Who knew that peaches were the fruit that contains the highest levels of pesticides? Onions, on the other hand, are lowest in pesticides. When faced with purchasing a food that you know is on the 'dirty dozen' list, the best option is to choose organic. More and more stores carry organic produce, so you don't have to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes to get food that is good for you.

Another way to avoid pesticides is to grow your own food. Growing your own food enables you to control what goes into the soil and lets you determine the best course of action when dealing with pests. Having a produce garden is a great way to connect food with nature, which will make you appreciate your food (and the environment) even more. It is also great exercise because it is a lot of work - work that pays off in multiples come harvest time.

Some people believe that pesticides are a necessary part of food production. Mom doesn't and neither do I. There must be a better way to control pests that invade food crops than by dousing them with harmful chemicals. The chemicals kill the pests, but they also seep into the soil and ultimately the food they were trying to save. The EPA regulates the types of pesticides that are used in the U.S., but a lot of fruits and vegetables in the stores are imported from other countries. Do these countries have a group similar to the EPA? Do your homework, know where your food comes from, and sleep better knowing that you are doing all you can to ensure the food you put in your body is safe from pesticides.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day and I for one, am thankful each and every day that I have access to clean water. Are you?

Clean water to many is a privilege and not a right for many people around the world. Americans, like most people in the developed world, simply take it for granted. You know that when you go to the sink and turn on the water knob, clean water will flow, and flow, and flow. This may be the way it is today, but there is a serious water crisis and it may one day affect you personally, so take nothing for granted.

Millions of people around the world do not have access to clean water. Hard to believe, isn't it? When I say millions of people I mean nearly 900 million people. Yikes! That means almost one out of every 6 people lacks clean water. I bet you didn't know that lack of clean water is the second largest killer of children under the age of five.

So how did World Water Day begin? According to the World Water Day website, the international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The UN designated March 22 of each year as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution and invited countries from the globe to devote the day to the conservation and development of water resources, thereby raising awareness of the global water crisis.

The theme of this years World Water Day is "Shared Water-Shared Opportunities", so the special focus will be on transboundary waters - waters that cross borders and link us together. The message here is that no matter where you live, upstream or downstream, we are all in the same boat. Water should not be a money-making commodity, held by few people who literally hold it hostage for so many. Water is a basic human right and everyone, everywhere should have access to it.

If you didn't know there was a global water crisis, now you do. If you wonder what you can do to help, you can begin at home. Use less water every day. How? Don't run the water when you brush your teeth. Use your dishwasher (if you have one) instead of washing dishes by hand. Purchase a high efficiency washing machine. Purchase a rain barrel to collect rain water that can be used to water plants. Install a gray water system in your house. Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it yourself. The list just goes on and on.

Please do not take clean water for granted. There may come a day in the not too distant future when you may not have access to clean water. Take steps now to prevent this from happening. Educate yourself and others to the crisis at hand, and as always, be part of the solution, not the problem.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Mom is very happy today because today is the Meatout. I am exempt from the meatout because I am a dog (whew!), but Mom has been encouraging people all day long to give up meat just for today. A whole day without meat? I don't think so!

Meatout is a campaign to expose people to the benefits of a plant-based diet. Most people think that there is no way they could live without meat but that is just wrong. You can get all the protein you need in your diet by eating plant-based. It may seem hard to do at first glance, but there are so many options, that most people who give up meat for good, don't even miss it.

A meat based diet is not necessary for humans to survive and in many cases is not good for you. Giving up meat reduces your chance of heart disease and stroke. It also decreases your exposured to meat borne pathogens like E-coli and Salmonella - yuk!

Factory farms (where most meat comes from) contaminate our water, soil, and even our air. Methane from cows is a huge contributor to the global climate crisis. Water runoff pollutes our streams and rivers, thus causing the plants and animals that live there to die. People who live near factory farms talk of the stench from the farms - most of them cannot even sit on their front porches.

The animals who are raised in factory farms are treated inhumanely. Most animals never see the light of day or feel grass beneath their feet because they are stuffed in a cage or in a big warehouse. This is no way for an animal to live - I know that I wouldn't want to live like that.

Giving up meat also allows foods to be grown for people instead of animals. Most crops grown in the U.S. are grown to feed factory farmed animals. It can take up to 16lbs of grain to make 1lb of meat. This is not a very efficient uses of resources. If all the food used for this purpose was used to feed people, we might be able to solve the starvation problems of people around the globe.

So what are your options today in lieu of eating meat? The possibilities are endless! The first thing most people may think about is pizza and pasta, both good choices. I personally like carrots, oranges, pickles, and french fries, but I obviously couldn't live on them. Mom eats a lot of beans, veggies, fruits, nuts, and grains. She doesn't miss meat at all and in fact is semi-vegan at this point. She does not even try to convert Dad because she knows that he would rather die than give up meat.

Please try to go without meat for just one day and see how you feel. If you can do it today, then great, but if not, pick a day soon to try it. Mom says you will feel better physically, and mentally you will feel better about yourself knowing that you are not contributing to the problems of the world. I am very thankful that I am exempt from the Meatout, but in honor of it, I am going to go a full 12 hours with no meat today. Yep, it's true. I am going to start right after dinner.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Plastic Bottle Shopping Bag

Mom has lots of shopping bags, so she is looking to buy some as gifts. She really likes this bag because it is made from a fiber that is produced from 100% post consumer plastic and it's made in the USA. Mom also likes the pretty flower design that says "This bag is made from plastic bottles recycled by consumers. Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. Think Twice." Hopefully when people see you out and about using this bag they will think twice about using plastic bags. Pick up a bag for yourself or for a gift at http://www.wedgeworldwide.coop/.

Recycled Record Frame

I am too young to remember when music was available on vinyl records, but Mom talks about it all the time. She is constantly strolling down memory lane about her all-time favorite records that she listened to over and over again. Ah, the good old times, she always says. I don't know if they really were the good old times, but there are a lot of vinyl records in the world, so people are starting to recycle them.

This great looking frame is really a vinyl record. You can hang it on the wall or it can stand on its own. This made in the USA frame has a 4 1/4" diameter opening, so you can easily fit a picture of me in there. Get a frame to show off a picture of your loved one (me!) at http://www.elsewares.com/.

Lantern Bottle

This is one of those products that Mom says is a must have for her turtle trip. Believe it or not, the cabin that Mom and Carole stay in does not have electricity, so they use flashlights and Mom brings a lantern. This little gadget will be the hit of the trip this year because it looks better than a regular lantern and is much lighter to pack.
This neat little lid fits on your water bottle and turns it into a lantern. The best part about it is that you can take it with you, use it upside down, or hang it from a branch. The lide contains an integrated LED light that spreads a warm glow throughout the bottle, just like a firefly hence the name. You can even adjust the level of light depending on your need. The electrical stuff is in a separate sealed compartment, so you don't have to worry about getting water in it. How cool is that? This great idea is available in select stores or online at http://www.guyotdesigns.com/.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Way We Eat

Mom is very, very concerned about the effects factory farming has on the environment, our health, and the well-being of the animals. Factory farming is the worst thing for everyone and she wants to spread the word that it is unnecessary.

The authors follow three families as they shop for groceries. Their food buying habits and choices are analyzed to determine why they shop where they do and why they eat what they do. Do they shop at Wal-Mart because the prices are low and they have very little to spend on food? Do they buy pre-packaged food for the convenience because they are too busy to cook from scratch? The decisions these typical American families make with their food purchases may not surprise you, but what may surprise you is that their decisions effect us all.

By visiting slaughterhouses, farms, food processing plants, etc., the authors try to trace the origins of the food these families purchased and ate. This is not an easy task because most of the time they are met with closed doors. The American public is truly in the dark when it comes to knowing where their food comes from and how it is processed. This is the way big companies and in some cases the government wants it to be. The old saying 'what you don't know can't hurt you' has never been a bigger lie than it is when talking about your food. You not only need to know where your food comes from, you have the right to know and only when you know can you make informed decisions.

The real truth is that your food choices do matter, but they don't just matter to you. If you are eating factory farmed food it is impacting me and vice versa. Please educate yourself on the food you are putting in your body by reading this book. Some of the material may be shocking to you, but this is the way it is. Start making good choices because if you don't, you are hurting yourself and everyone else in the process.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


This is not a new idea, but it is one that not many people have heard of. Mom is hoping to spread the word about precycling because it is probably the best way to eliminate trash. Recycling is great, but it hasn't made a difference in the waste that ends up in landfills due to over-consumption and excess packaging. It still takes energy to transport items, melt them down, and re-manufacturer them. Why do this when it is unneccessary? It's time to precycle!

So what is precycling? Precycling is the act of reducing waste by not bringing items home that will generate waste. You "pre-think" your purchases so that you don't have things to throw away. There are so many things that cannot be recycled, such as packaging materials, so if you don't buy items that are heavily packaged, you will not have as much to throw away. I know it sounds simple, but not a lot of people even think about it.

So how can you precycle? The first and most obvious idea is to take cloth bags with you when you shop. I'm not just talking about the grocery store, but everywhere you shop, like the drugstore and the mall. Another great place to precycle is at the produce section of the grocery store. Mom gets crazy when she sees people putting bananas in the plastic produce bags. What is the point of that? There is no need to put any produce in a plastic bag. Just lay it in your cart or basket and have it packed in your cloth bags when you check out. Most of the plastic produce bags don't even get recycled, which is a waste in and of itself, but by precycling - "pre-thinking" your purchase - you have less to dispose of. Buying in bulk is another way to precycle. This reduces packaging and in most cases saves money.

Styrofoam cannot be recycled and will be with us forever. Choose egg cartons which are made from recycled newsprint, never the styrofoam cartons. Avoiding products packaged in styrofoam is sometimes unavoidable, so limit these purchases so you will have less to dispose of.

Avoid single use items like disposable razors, pens, cleaning pads, foil pans, etc. There are so many single use items at the store that it seems almost unavoidable but it isn't. You must make a conscious decision to avoid them because there are alternatives available.

Choose items that can be easily recycled like #1 plastic. Some plastic containers are made from layer upon layer of plastic and these cannot easily be recycled. Avoid these whenever you can.

The ultimate goal is to reduce waste by avoiding it, thus not creating garbage, and this will in turn eliminate a need for these items. Until everyone stops using the produce bags, the grocery stores will continue to supply them. The same thing goes with the plastic grocery bags. Only when everyone starts to bring their own, will the stores stop using them.

Annie Leonard, whose short film "The Story of Stuff" documents how things are made from cradle (extraction) to grave (incineration), has spent over 20 years investigating factories and garbage dumps around the world. She says that it takes 70 cans of garbage to make the junk that goes into just one can of trash. If that isn't proof enough to make you precycle I don't know what will.

Packaging is the biggest culprit of waste. In order to minimize waste and maximize resources, manufacturers must use products that can easily and safely be broken down. Mom finds it very hard to buy baked goods because of the packaging (not to mention all the chemicals). She knows that cookies must be carefully packaged so that they survive transport and shelving intact, but all that stuff is wasted when you eat the cookies. It is much easier, cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment to bake your own.

If people start making conscious decisions about what they buy - precycling - this will send a message to manufacturers that consumers demand responsible products and packaging, and that this is good for business. The idea is that our positive behavior will change their behavior and that we will ultimately have less waste.

Precycling emphasizes reducing and reusing, and by carefully precycling, we can make the connection between what we consume and our environment. Even small changes make a big difference, so please think before you buy - precycle!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Eat Chocolate and Give Back to the World

Mom loves chocolate and would eat it every day if she could eat it and not gain weight. I cannot eat chocolate, not because of the weight thing, but because it is dangerous and could kill me. I cannot speak firsthand about how delicious Endangered Species Chocolate is, but if Mom likes it it must be good.

It's Time For Hope is a contest from Endangered Species Chocolate. It's simple to enter - just share a story about what gives you hope and you could win a Chocolate of the Month Club for you and a friend. One grand prize winner will even win a $5,000 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.

There is so much bad news in the world today that being hopeful and staying positive are the only ways we are going to get through. By being positive you can make things happen for the good. Each day all of us have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and work on making this world a better one than it is today. Doesn't that give you hope?

Endangered Species Chocolate is all about hope - their passion is habitat and species conservation - because their tasks are so daunting. Saving endangered species is sometimes an uphill battle, but one that is ultimately worth believing in and fighting for. Like Mom always says, we are all in this together and it is everyones responsibility to do the right thing.

In addition to the contest, Endangered Species Chocolate hides random codes and keywords inside their candy wrappers and on their magazines ads. Find the codes and enter them on their website to earn points toward coupons, gift cards, or donations to conservation nonprofits.

These guys are really making a difference and giving hope where it once was lost. Whether you want to share a story of hope or you just need a little sunshine on a cloudy day, visit www.itstimeforhope.com to read stories of hope from all over the U.S.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Portable Solar and Wind Generator

Mom has been looking for a solar powered generator that she can use when she goes on her turtle trips and I finally found one that I think she will like.

This generator only weighs 13 ounces which makes it perfect for those pack light trips. It recharges cell phones, cameras, and ipods, so it will be all Mom needs to charge all her stuff. The best part about this generator is that it harnesses both sun and wind power. They even make a bike holder for it so that you can capture wind power as you pedal. If Mom gets the bike holder I hope she doesn't hook it on my buggy because I don't want to get blamed when she goes over a bump and it goes flying in the air. Get your solar and wind power generator now at http://shopping.discover.com/ so that you have it when spring arrives next week.

All Over Body Balm

Mom is always looking a multi-use products and when she found this one, she just had to try it. There are over 22 uses for this little, bitty balm from Revolution Organics, but once you try it you'll wonder how you've lived without it.

Rich in vitamins A, B, C, & E, the All-Over Body Balm is specially formulated with organic butters, plant extracts, and nourishing oils. It's the perfect size for your purse, pocket, or to keep in the car. Mom won't tell me what some of the 22 uses are, put she has been putting it on her hands and lips. I peeked over her shoulder when she was ordering it and one of the uses was to tame unruly eyebrows. Mom's eyebrows are more than unruly, so I hope she uses this stuff to get them under control. She realy loves this balm and I am happy for her, as long as she doesn't try to put it on me. My rough spots are fine without balm on them, thank you. If you need an all-purpose body balm, head on over to http://www.beauty.com/.

Telephone Wire Bowls

Mom loves anything made from recycled materials. She loves fair trade goods even more, so when she found these bowls she hit the jackpot.

These beautiful, one of a kind bowls are made in South Africa. Fair trade and made from colorful telephone wire, they are ideal for holding many things you currently have lying around the house. Sold by
Global Sistergoods, these great bowls come from a great company.

According to their website they "
support and encourage the artisans we work with to use recycled materials, natural dyes and otherwise implement environmentally sustainable practices in their work. We ask them about their practices because we care, and we know you do too." The company also buys recycled paper, reuses everything they can, and when they must use packing peanuts, they use starch-based ones that can be compostable. Global Sistergoods has made it their business to create a marketplace for women artisans around the globe. Please help support them by purchasing a bowl at http://www.globalsistergoods.com/.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bath Time!

Even though I just had a bath last October, Mom and Dad decided that I needed another one over the weekend. I may have smelled a little and my usually shiny coat may have been a little scraggly, but I didn't really mind the way I smelled or looked. If I had my way I would probably never take a bath, but as much as I hate to admit it, I am not in charge of me. Nope. Mom and Dad (mostly Mom) run the show, so when they tell me I need a bath, I give them my sad eyes as they load me in the car.

Don't I look like I am ready to vomit? Well I did right before this picture was taken. Dad took this right before we pulled out of the driveway and right after he cleaned up the mess. I am sitting on Mom's lap wondering how my vomitting trick didn't work. I actually got tricked into getting into the car. Mom told me that we were going to Popeye's, so I race outside and almost jumped into the car by myself. I can't really jump anymore, so Dad placed me on Mom's lap and that's when she told me that we were going to the dog wash. Oh no, not a bath. I thought we were going to get chicken or I never would have agreed to go. Like I said, I am not in charge.

Thankfully, Mom did not bring the camera into the dog wash. Last time she did that, I was totally humiliated by the awful pictures she took. She knows that I don't like baths and that I don't look good wet, but she just had to take some pictures - yuk! This time I warned her to keep the camera in the car or I would shake water all over her until she was as wet as me. Sometimes she is smart and heeds my warnings.

This is me all nice and clean. You can see part of Mom and only a tiny part of Dad. Mom thinks that this picture is one of the best she has ever taken of me and she calls it 'the handsome one'. This is definitely my good side, don't you agree?

All of the excitement of the car ride, the dog wash, and the awful drying off left me so exhausted it was all I could do to keep my eyes open on the ride back home. I was so tired that I had to rest my head on the door to keep myself awake. My eyes are barely open in this picture, but right after this was taken, we drove through a construction zone and I was once again wide awake.

I couldn't stay awake for long, so I decided to lay down on Mom's lap and soak up some sunshine. All I could think about was getting back home and crawling into bed, despite the fact that I was still a little wet. The only good thing about getting a bath today is that I probably won't get another one for another 6 months.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cultivating the Web

Mom found this booklet last week and loves it. It contains many of the best websites for anyone interested in sustainable food. If you aren't on board yet with sustainable food because you aren't sure what it is or how it affects you, put this at the top of your reading list. There is so much great information in the 37 pages that you will wonder how you've lived without it.

I really don't want to give too much away, but believe me when I tell you that there is a lot of great information in this booklet. There is everything from food and farming networking websites to articles on water. There is even a short article about The Meatrix. You will want to visit so many of the websites in the booklet and those will in turn lead to other websites. That is the brillance of the Internet - so much information for you to discover.

The booklet is colorful, easy to read, and very informative. Get your free copy at http://www.eatwellguide.org/downloads/pubs/080811_CultivatingTheWeb.pdf. If you must print it out, please print it on the back of used paper or use recycled paper. This is a great to share with friends and family so that they can learn about one of the most issues facing us today. Sustainability is the only way to go and it will no longer be an option as more and more resources are used, so please do your part by eating sustainably.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Faces of Chelonia

I found this website called "Faces of Chelonia" today and I am making it my must visit website of the week. It's about sea turtles which I love, so I decided to post a picture of a female loggerhead that Mom took on Wassaw Island in the summer of 2007. This lady is heading back to the ocean after laying her eggs. As you can see, Mom is not a photographer, but she tries.

Canadian freelance photographer Neil Ever Osborne is the face behind "Faces of Chelonia". Neil started this photographic project to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation via a visual perspective. His photographs are amazing because he captures the true essence of his subjects.

Neil is working to develop a new genre of photography called 'Conservation Photography'. This is what he has to say about the subject:

"'Conservation Photography' utilizes artistic visual mediums for the purpose of documenting issues and sharing stories about the natural world and its inhabitats for the sake of perserving entities at risk. The 'Conservation Photographer' uses their work to establish tangible conservation results."

Neil has such an interesting background. He did graduate training in biology and marine ecology prior to pursuing his photographic interests. He mentored under world renowned National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting and now three years later, he is doing his own thing as a freelancer.

There is a map on the site where you can see where Neil has been, places he is planning to visit, and potential sites. Neil has even visited a place that Mom has been - Tortuguero. Tortuguero was Mom's second stop on her "turtle tour" of 2003-2004. She loved it there and had an amazing time working with the great people at the CCC.

Mom thinks that Neil should visit Wassaw because it is such a unique place where he could photograph loggerheads as well as the island itself. Nothing is quite like Wassaw, Mom always says. I have seen the photos and I agree, but then again I haven't been too many places.

You must check out "Faces of Chelonia" at http://www.facesofchelonia.com/. Add it to your favorites and visit it often to see new sea turtle photos and to learn about the efforts of sea turtle conservation around the globe. Some day you may even see a spot on the map for Wassaw Island.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Brothers

Even though I am technically an only child, I do have two "plush" brothers. I love them and keep them around for fun, but occasionally they get on my nerves. When this happens, I put them in their place and tell them that I am in charge.

This is a picture of my brothers - Big Mikey and Buddy Dog. Big Mikey is the big guy sitting on the chair. My other Mom and Dad, Sandy and Carl, bought this chair for me for Christmas a few years ago, but Big Mikey decided he liked more than I did. I don't like to sit on chairs unless there is a lap on the chair, so it sat empty until Big Mikey showed up. Big Mikey was a gift from Mom and Dad three years ago and Buddy Dog was a gift from one of my other mommies, Colleen, when I was a baby. These guys do not hang out together, but I thought it would be neat to have them together in a picture.

Buddy Dog is almost the same age as me. When I first saw him I thought that he was a real, live pug! I was afraid to go near him and when I finally did, I walked up behind him and sniffed him. Mom and Dad were cracking up - literally laughing at me for thinking Buddy Dog was real. Since then, Buddy Dog has been my best friend. He is a little weathered and dirty, but that's how I like him. Mom says he stinks and needs a bath, but Buddy Dog just ignores her. At least he still has eyes which is more than I can say for some of my friends plushes.

I like to beat up on Buddy Dog whenever I can. Buddy Dog works on the first floor of the house where he is in charge of security for that floor. His office is in the family room and he is very good at his job. When he screws up, I pick him up and shake some sense into him. Luckily for him, this does not happen very often.

Big Mikey works on the second floor where he is charge of security up there. He shares an office with Mom and since I spend a lot of time working with Mom, I see Big Mikey all the time. He gets on my nerves much more than Buddy Dog does. Maybe I am more used to Buddy Dog or maybe Big Mikey's size bothers me, but there are some days where I can't help but tackle him to the floor when I walk in Mom's office.

Since I am in charge of security for the entire property, both of my brothers report to me. I love being king of the house! When they screw up, Devil Dog comes out. You don't want to get Devil Dog mad because then there will be hell to pay. This is me getting mad. Scary, huh?

Neither of my brothers have blogs because they are much too busy working. Plus, there can only be one star in the house and that's me. I love being an only child, being in charge, and being the favorite. Ah, the life of spoiled pug. That's my life and I love it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Just Soap

I love this idea - handmade soap that is blended by a bicycle! This smart guy in Massachusetts knew that making soap the old fashioned way would take hours of stirring, so he decided to make a one-of-a-kind bicycle-powered soap blender. This eco-friendly machine turns out large batches of soap that is all natural, biodegradable, and of course never tested on animals. There are lots of really good scents like lavender rosemary, lemongrass ginger, and almond cornmeal. At just under $3.00 for a 3.5 oz bar of soap this is one of the best deals on soap I have seen in a long time. Head on over to http://www.justsoap.com/ for some pedal powered, good clean fun.

Dog Bed

I have two beds that I sometimes sleep in, but Mom is also looking for a new bed for me. When I told her about Eco Naps, she told to pick out the color I wanted.

What is so special about Eco Naps? The mats are made with eco fabric, which is milled in the good old USA of 85% post consumer recycled plastic. Instead of going to the landfill, bottles are turned into stylish dog beds. The beds are even machine washable which makes Mom really happy. I just can't believe that I'm going to be sleeping on old soda bottles, but if it's good for the environment, then I will do it. Get Eco Naps for all your dog pals at http://www.westpawdesign.com/.

Green Birdhouse

Everyone knows that Mom is bird crazy, so when she found this product she begged me to put it on my blog. I like the birds, but sometimes they keep me from going out in my yard. Maybe this will keep them out of my space so that I can have my yard back.

These birdhouses are made from 100% recycled, laminated paperboard. It has a natural water resistance so your little birds and their babies won't get wet. The houses are designed for small songbirds, but if you are like us, you may only get sparrows. Like I always tell Mom, every mommy needs a place to raise her babies, so leave the sparrows alone!

The birdhouse are designed to last only one nesting season, so after the babies have fledged, off to the compost bin the house goes. It is completely biodegradable, including the cotton rope that is used to hang it. You can also decorate your birdhouse but keep in mind that materials you use on it may affect its biodegradability. I would just leave it natural because it looks really nice that way. Spring is almost here so log onto http://www.greenbirdhouse.com/ to pick up a few houses for your backyard birds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oprah Got a New Puppy!

No she didn't get a pug. I'm not really sure why she didn't because everyone knows that pugs make the perfect pet. Maybe she just didn't get the memo, huh?

Oprah has been talking up horrible puppy mills for quite some time now and has been very outspoken on animal rights for years, so it was just a matter of time before she adopted a shelter dog herself. Oprah and Stedman went to PAWS on Sunday and picked up a female cocker spaniel puppy (maybe they were out of pugs). Oprah's cocker spaniel Sophie died last year and I'm sure that her male cocker spaniel, Solomon, was getting lonely. Oprah also has two golden retreivers and I'm sure she has room for a pug. No details yet on the name of the new addition, but I bet it will start with an 's' like maybe Susie or Stacy. Hey, Stubby starts with an 's' but it's really a boy name.

PAWS is Chicago's larget no kill humane organization. It is focused on alleviating the huge problem of homeless pets. Since its inception, the number of homeless pets killed in the city has been cut in half. Chicago is well on its way to being the largest no kill city in America and it is all due to the hard work of PAWS.
Oprah even has a room named after her at PAWS thanks to her generous sponsorship. The room showcases needy dogs of which there are many.

Maybe President Obama can come back to Chicago to get his shelter dog. If the dogs at PAWS are good enough for Oprah, then they're good enough for the President. Visit PAWS at http://www.pawschicago.org/ to check out the dogs and cats available for adoption, read about the great work they're doing, and to take a tour of their neat lfacility. If you visit PAWS in person and see any pugs there, please don't tell Mom because I like being an only child.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Repower America!

It's time to get on board and Repower America! Yeah! Time to get all pumped up to meet the challenge of powering our great nation with clean electricty within 10 years. Think it's a pipe dream? Think again.

Our country is in serious crisis mode. The economy is in shambles and people are losing their jobs and homes. The environmental challenges we face can be met with new green jobs and freedom from fossil fuels, and the economic stimulas plan should help us meet this bold challenge.

Repower America was inspired by a speech given by Al Gore last year, where he talked about creating new industries that are powered by clean energy. By replacing dirty burning fossil fuels with clean domestic sources, we not only end our dependence on foreign oil, but we also clean up the environment. This is turn will help solve the global climate crisis, while creating new jobs for people who need work.

But we need a plan, don't we? A plan that covers everything from soup to nuts, from A - Z, etc. According to the Repower America site, the plan includes:

Energy Efficiency: A national upgrade to eliminate waste, save money, and improve comfort. Make every bit of energy we produce work harder for us.
Renewable Generation: Accelerate the ramp-up of clean, renewable electricity sources through policies that support increased private and public investment in technologies that work, like wind, solar, and geothermal.
Unified National Smart Grid: Modernize transmission infrastructure so that clean electricity generated anywhere in America can power homes and businesses across the nation; Build national electricity 'interstates' that move power quickly and cheaply to where it is needed; Establish local smart grids that buy and sell power from households and support clean plug-in cars.
Automobiles: Transition to efficient plug-in cars that 'fuel' with clean electricity. In combination with the unified grid, a nationwide fleet of plug-in vehicles also provides a key source of electricity storage.

Sounds like a big challenge, but we are up for it, aren't we? We can do it and we must do it. Log on to http://www.repoweramerica.org/ to read the analysis of the plan and to become a member of this great movement. There are 2,117,929 members as of today and the number is growing by leaps and bounds.

One more thing to do while you're on the site - check out how your state is helping to Repower America. We live in Illinois and when I clicked on our state I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are almost 54,000 members. Yeah!

* We also rank 8th in existing wind capacity.
* In 2006, our sta
te produced nearly 600,000-megawatt hours of electricity from biomass - that's enough to power almost 65,000 homes per year!
*We have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires all public utilities to generate 25% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2025, with at least 18.75% from wind by 2013. *The wind turbine industry is bringing more jobs to Illinois and one engineering company is developing a second plant to manufacture mechanical drives for the wind turbine industry. This will create 300 new production jobs and 55 new office jobs.

Things You Can Learn From A Dog

I came across this poem the other day and it really spoke to me. Though the author is unknown, I feel like I could have written this. I am always telling Mom that I am worth my weight in gold and sometimes she buys it and sometimes she doesn't. I present to you advice from dogs everywhere, rules to live and love by.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
Run, romp and play daily.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout .. run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.
Author Unknown