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A friend recently went out of town and asked if I wanted her weekly CSA pickup so long as I volunteered for her shift in the park. I grabbed my Eco-Mama (and her cutiepie eco-baby) and headed to Williamsburg for some community fun & fresh food! Mission accomplished.

It was wonderful to see so many people heading out in the freezing cold temperatures to pick up their farm fresh fruits, vegetables and pastured eggs. The compost collection in a few feet away from the farm stand and boy was it packed. So great to see so many young people interested in taking steps towards a more involved society. Mariah and I split the goods and took turns warming up in nearby Urban Rustic (which supplied me with 2 hot cups of coffee to keep me warm). We had a great time connecting with our neighbors and each other.

Kevin and I cooked up some delicious potatoes and the best roasted carrots we've ever tasted! Next week we plan on using the Sage I scored (I stuck it in the freezer to be used at a later date) to make Sage & Brown Butter fresh pasta. Hmmmm yum.

Here's some pictures of my loot:

Urban Branches Hearts Fig & Sage

The ladies at Fig & Sage keep bringing me the best eco-shopping events, I can't keep up with it! Their site is wonderful and during this holiday season they are offering up all the best in environmentally friendly beauty product sales across the Internet. Well worth checking out each day. I've done some holiday shopping myself with their tips.

Thanks girls!

Eco-Sale! Pangea 50% off!

Ok, so I heard about this on one of my favorite blogs, Fig & Sage
and had to bring you the news myself, Pangea is having a huge HUGE sale, 50% on their entire line of delicious Skin/Shower products.

All you have to do is:
email and put 'Trees Please' in the subject line. They will email you back an order form to fill out with the prices and sale info! Easy peasy.


Daily Eco

You all know my love for jars, I have them all over my apartment, and even used them as decor in my wedding, so it's no surprise that I use them for storage in my kitchen!

Buy a pack of Ball jars, or just collect them from your used jam, sauce and pickle jars. Use them to store your leftovers, buy in bulk and dole out your goods for easier daily use. They are economical due to the lack of staining (I had to toss a old Tupperware when it was stained with tomato sauce a few weeks back) and reusability. Not to mention how spiffy they look on display.


Shop Green at Kiehl's

Shop the Kiehl’s Friends & Family event and save 20 percent on all purchases. Just use the code FAMILY at checkout; if you spend more than $30, shipping is on the house.
There are some eco friendly options of course: Pick up the 100% biodegradable Aloe Vera cleanser. It's the first to be Cradle to Cradle certified! It's free of course of parabens, SLS and Dyes and is housed in a 100% post consumer recycled bottle. The profits also go to a charitable partnership called JPF ECO SYSTEMS in collaboration with Brad Pitt.



"When I am president, any governor who's willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that's willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that's willing to join the cause of combating climate change will have an ally in the United States."

-President Elect Barack Obama

Tracy Matthews Jewelry Sale!

The fabulous jewelry designer, Tracy Matthews who created my renewed gold wedding ring (rings actually, the 5 are pictured below) is having an amazing Sample Sale the first week of December! So, if you're in New York that week, march right over to Canal Street and get to shopping (sale details below)

Eponymous jewelry designer, Tracy Matthews, is having another sample sale so here is your chance to get the jewelry that celebrities like Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Orlando Bloom and David Cooke covet. Enjoy a great savings of 50-90% off her delicate, personal jewelry for women and hip, edgy collections for men. Great time to holiday shop with gifts starting at $ 10.

For women:

Large Hammered and Criss Cross cuffs regularly $ 45-60, now $ 15-20

Long geometric mixed metal layering Chain Necklaces, regularly $ 200, now $ 60-80

Sterling silver Art Deco Japanese hoop earrings, regularly $210, now $ 60

Tons of “grab bag” items for $ 10-20

For men:

Wooden dogtag and oxidized chain necklaces, regularly $80, now $ 30

Sterling silver and wood cufflinks, regularly $ 150, now $ 50

Deconstructed medallion necklace, regularly $ 200, now $ 60

Sample Sale Details

Thursday December 4th and Friday December 5th

Time: 10 am -7 pm

Location: Tracy Matthews Designs Studio Space

264 Canal Street Loft 6E New York (Btw Broadway & Lafayette)

Subway lines: NRQW, 6, ACE, 1


Eco-Mama: Toys!

As the holiday shopping season officially starts this Friday, there is an important item that is in every one's shopping basket. Toys! I think about what to tell people to buy my little Siena...I came up with a few specific brands and guidelines.
Almost every mother will tell you, "I hate plastic" or "I hate that toy, but my child loves it". How do we find ourselves in these predicaments so often over all plastic or other un-natural toys? What does a toy's function serve as? How can one make that an eco choice? Do we buy our children every new toy on the market, or stick with a combo or some toys and other "normal" household items?

I have the philosophy installed in me that all things natural are what's not only best, but most natural to our earth and to human core existence. Secondly, a toy is a piece made to spark imagination, joy, pleasure, challenges...etc. When we look around us at the world, do we not see hours of imaginative objects without having to go for the plastic super-duper-ten-colored noise maker with pull strings and wind ups get my point. As much as children need and want to explore, they can do it in a more natural way. Just this morning my daughter wanted nothing to do with food or her other toys, the bulb syringe was utterly amazing to her. I took it away and she started wailing. and although it is not an eco object, it was serving a very fascinating purpose.
I had wooden blocks and trains as a child. I had handmade dolls and stuffed animals that were constructed from beautiful fabrics. I loved all of them. Now, I did not have natural in every single toy...some of the furry animals were synthetic...and their eyes may have been plastic, but I did not have any hard all plastic objects.

I really like a German toy company called HABA. They have toys made from wood. The colors are bright and natural looking. Their slogan is: "inventive playthings for inquisitive minds" which I find to be a key element in a company. There are about 10 pages of toys, and other sections include Christmas, Games, Grocery Store, Jewelry, Outdoor, and Children's Room. Some items are constructed from cotton and polyester mix.
Siena has 2 toys from Haba. One is a wooden rattle with 4 flowers, like a bouquet, attached by elastic so they can be poked and moved around. One flower has a reflective surface and there is also a bell. The other toy is a ring of 6 different colored wooden triangles. It is also held together with strong elastic, which allows for the triangles to be arranged in a varying pattern by flipping them over. Might I add, she really loves these toys.

Other favorite toys are the hand crocheted Organic cotton monkey, hand crafted by women in China. These are sold to the us by a company in Amsterdam called Anne- Claire Petit accessories. (I purchased said monkey at Mini Jake kids store in Williamsburg Brooklyn)
I also love a soft miYim bunny rattle made from 100% organic fine knit cotton.

So in closing, I want to remind everyone to please reconsider that latest toy or gadget for your little one, or grandchild. We don't want to teach our children to further the deconstruction of the earth, but rather to nurture it and find just as much joy and inspiration from handmade or natural toys. We are teaching them balance and harmony as well, so by not bringing that loud fake voice plastic thing into the house, we may be teaching them to hear the birds sing, or the leaves rustling in the wind. Not only is that easy on the environment, its easy on the parents wallet too. So get out there and rake a pile of leaves together! Make it fun, cover baby with the leaves and play peek a boo! Let her crinkle the leaves in her hands.

take care, stay in touch and perform one green thing a day
your Brooklyn Eco Mama


I live in New York City, where access to local, organic, fresh and socially responsible food is almost always easy to find, almost.

Kevin and I have a favorite Chinese restaurant that we just adore, but, we have not been going much at all due to the fact that our favorite dish happens to be a beef dish and since we are trying to stick to our guns (eating meat only where we know it's local, pasture raised and organic if possible) we haven't been going. It's tough because while there are tons of organic and healthy spots in the city, it appears that the ethnic food choices are somehow exempt. So annoying!

There are many vegetarian choices that steer towards Asian fare, but we're craving our favorite beef dish, and to be honest I am just not sure I can recreate it at home.

I have a great book called The Slow Food Guide To New York City, but it's not much help as it doesn't distinguish what about the restaurant makes organic, local or anything. There needs to be a rating system next to each review so we know what makes each one worth visiting!

The search continues...

Anyone else having the same problem in their city?

Baby Cows are Darling!

Number Time

Numbers put things into perspective for us, and GOOD Magazine has put together some astonishing numbers to put the holidays into focus:

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas roughly 20 BILLION cards, letters & packages are delivered by the U.S. Postal Service! Do you're part, hand deliver your gifts if possible, host a gift exchange dinner to hand your friends and loved ones gifts in person. If you're sending far away, send gifts in reused boxes and wrap gifts in old newspapers to protect them while shipping.

30 to 35 MILLION Christmas tress are chopped down during the holidays in the U.S. every year! do your part if you can, purchase a wreath instead, the scent is still amazing and you can enjoy a easier cleanup! If you do want that tree (and I totally understand) make sure it's disposed of properly, many cities have a tree recycling program, look into it.

$23.3 BILLION dollars worth of gift cards were sold during the 2007 holiday season. This is great news as people were able to purchase items they actually wanted instead of having to shelve that homemade itchy sweater or book you'll never read. Another good idea, bite the awkward bullet and just share with your family what you are wishing for this year!

Eco-Fashionista: Green and Still Have Money For Dinner!

As ECSTATIC as I am to have my Obama as President Elect, it's going to take little time for our economy to shift where we are all not sacrificing our favorite products, be it food, clothing, shoes, makeup or beauty because of lack of cash.

There has been PLENTY that I have sacrificed this year as a result. I have not bought a new pair of shoes in at least 6 months. I know I buy products from local farmers and cook at home every night. Almost every night. Okay, I only go out to dinner max twice a week. I've put on hold re-decorating my hardly furnished new apartment. These may be trivial changes to some, but every little bit helps.

However, as a woman, the last thing I'm going to sacrifice is my beauty regimen. For some of us, it has taken years to find the perfect shade of lipstick, under eye cream that actually de-puffs or the best facial moisturizer that doesn't cause unsightly breakouts or smells funny! It might be that you currently are trying to find the perfect organic product, but feel like you can't afford to be 'green.' But let me tell you, you don't have to sacrifice organic products just because the economy is bad!

I've recently gone from Dior to Maybelline mascara, and whilst I was in CVS pharmacy, I saw a range of products called Vickery & Clarke Natural Apothecary. They were packaged really beautifully, they smelled delicious, and they were substantially less than, not only other organic products out there, but half the 'normal' brands sold in the store!

Found exclusively at CVS, the Vickery & Clarke Natural Apothecary line is free of parabens, petroleum, SLS, phthalates and other harmful ingredients. As I was shopping at CVS, mad that they were out of my favorite body wash, I decided to pick up their Ginger & Clementine Body Wash ($8.95) to try, as well as their Vitamin A and E Anti-Oxidant Face Serum (my Dr. Dennis Gross MD Skincare $100 for a tiny 1oz of vitamin serum was out, and lord knows I could not afford another one of those bad boys). For $9.95, as far as I can tell, my free radicals were still being fought, and it was lightweight and non-greasy. Perfect for under my moisturizer! Go to to see the entire line of products. If nothing else, get the Detoxifying Bath Soak. Enriched with 99.4% Ginger, an age-old remedy, that will stimulate circulation, allowing your body to sweat our impurities. What could be better than soaking out the old economy, while dreaming about the new one!

Winter is Here

Pasture Raised Turkey Day

For those non-vegetarians out there counting the days until Thanksgiving, rest assure, you can have your pasture raised Turkey and eat it too. This is the opportunity to support a family farm that gives their turkeys good lives, letting them roam in the sunshine, eating what they would eat normally (that which is on pasture of course)

There are many health benefits to eating pasture raised turkey this year:

*Less fat, less calories: Because the birds are free to roam, they gain muscle and are healthier

*More Omega 3 fatty acid (the good kind!)

*More CLA (Conjungated Linoleic Acid, the type of fat that has been proven to help fight cancer as well as converting fat to lean muscle in our bodies

*Increased amounts of beta-carotene (found in the grass they eat, instead of the grains they are forced to consume on large scale factory farms) beta-carotene is known to help reduce cancer risk

*More Vitamin E which helps boost the immune system and decreases the risk of heart disease

If you're not sure where to find a local, pasture raised Turkey and learn about the benefits choosing pasture raised meat/poultry/eggs/dairy, check out these links, you can order straight from the website! Better yet, do your own research and find a local farm you can support.

Apple Cheek Farms

Good Earth Farms

Local Harvest

Eat Wild

(Image: AppleCheek Farms)

Fact Shocker

Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every 5 seconds, due your part to stop this number from rising (and to lower it!). Bring resusable bags shopping, running errands and just about everywhere. I'll bring more of my favorite reusable totes this holiday season when I review my top holiday gift items to give and get, stay tuned...

Just Say No: To High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Followup

The HFCS post generated a lot of discussion, and I couldn't be happier. I was cleaning through some old magazines and read the 1st edition of GOOD Magazine, which has a great 2 page chart detailing the "Corn-To-Cola" process, here's a recap:

Corn Chain

1. The government supports corn farmers with tax breaks and subsidies
2. The corn is grown from genetically modified seeds
3. The largest buyers of this corn are cattle & chicken feedlots (neither animal naturally eats corn by the way) thus infiltrating genetically modified corn into our meat supply
4. What isn't sold to the cattle and chicken feedlots is converted into High Fructose Corn Syrup, it is then sold to processing companies
5. Coca-Cola takes the HFCS and combines it with other additives (which are secret of course)
6. Americans go ahead and drink that Coca-Cola at an average of 411 servings per year
7. HFCS is also used as sweetener in cereals, fruit juice, salad dressing, snack foods, hot dogs, condiments, seafood, peanut butter, yogurt, bread, bacon and virtually all processed foods in this country

one word: whoa!

Keep the conversation going, tell me what you think about HFCS and how corn is in just about everything.


Save Some Green

As the economy continues to spiral, it's important to tighten those purse strings, but at the same time not forget what's important. I've been blogging about the importance of eating local, organic and whole foods because they are not only better for your health but better on the environment. This is no time to throw out all we've learned. Just modify your choices. Here are some ways to keep the environment and your wallet in mind.

1. Choose your organics by the most and least contaminated, Eco-Mama has blogged about this as well, here's a list of the most and least contaminated (by pesticides and herbicides)

Most Contaminated
Bell Peppers
Grapes (imported)

Least Contaminated
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas

2. Choose what is in season, despite what I mention in #1 you need to remember, what is in season is cheaper and better on the environment, due to the reduced transport time.

3. Bring your own lunch to work & cook more. Have a potluck night with friends instead of meeting out for a bite. Share recipes and tips with your family, they've got the goods you know!

4. Eat less meat, it's much more expensive than whole grains and vegetables and you can get your protein in other ways, trust me.

More ways to come this week....

Define: Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy:

Energy that is generated (and naturally replenished) from the following natural resources:





*Geothermal Heat

Dependence on oil has become increasingly unstable due to war, price spikes and it's obvious impact on the environment around us. A move toward renewable energy is one of the most important moves we as citizens of this planet can make towards a future of possibilities.

Daily Eco

Make sure you shut your heat off before leaving the house! I know it's getting cold, but this planet can't afford (and frankly, neither can you!) to have heat pumping into your empty house all day while you are at work. Brave the cold when you arrive home, turn that heat on and enjoy the savings!

Just Say No: To High Fructose Corn Syrup

Lately there's been a advertising push on TV for High Fructose Corn Syrup. This commercial makes my blood boil, as two mom's discuss how "natural" this product is and how crazy all those health nuts are for being down on it. Hopefully you haven't been swayed by the lure of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

I been trying to avoid HFCS for a while now, it's tough, it's in almost everything. Serious, go to your cabinets and pull out 5 packaged foods, I bet you most if not all contain high fructose corn syrup! Why is it bad you say? Well there is a ton of information about this controversial ingredient. Here's some highlights

*Because Corn is almost always genetically modified, high fructose corn syrup, made from corn itself is almost always genetically modified. Ew! This means that roughly 80% of all we eat is genetically modified on account for the high levels of HFCS in our diets.

*When studied in rats, those who ingested fructose (compared to other sugars) did not reach adulthood, DID NOT REACH ADULTHOOD! In addition, they experienced anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy (meaning their hearts enlarged until they exploded!)

*Sugar (regular) can be broken down in the body in all cells, but fructose can only be digested in the liver, causing excess strain on one vital organ.

In addition to the hazardous health concerns, there are environmental ones too! Due to the fact that corn is grown as a monoculture (the land is used only to grow corn) the crops are never rotated which may be cheaper in the short term, but long term it depletes soil nutrients ending up requiring much more pesticides and fertilizers. Michael Pollan (author of the much loved Omnivore's Dilemma) writes,

"The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide, look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf [of Mexico], an area the size of New Jersey where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt. Then there is the atrazine in the water in farm country -- a nasty herbicide that, at concentrations as little as 0.1 part per billion, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites." (Source)

I hope that begins to give you some ammo to step it up yourself, do your research, check out the ingredients, and know what you are ingesting. The more energy, fuel and chemicals used to make your meal, the less healthy it is, you can be sure of that. Green your diet!

How to avoid HFCS

1. Avoid fast food, come on, do I need to give you another reason?

2. Kick your soda habit, switch to natural soda sweetened by sugar cane and other less harmful sweeteners

3. Read those labels, avoid whenever possible

4. Eat fresh and non-processed food


Daily Eco

I got today's daily eco from my Ideal Bite newsletter, wanted to bring it straight to you!

Use Glass for food storage
- store your food in glass, which keeps it colder longer - and as we mentioned in #1, colder food means the fridge keeps its cool easier.

Recycle that old Tupperware, invest in a set of glass storage containers and rest assure you're doing your part!

Stay Green While Fighting The Winter Blues

We all get sick, coughs, colds, flues...and we reach for our tried and true remedies to sooth our discomfort. But it is no time to ditch your green lifestyle! You can sooth your aching body while staying eco-friendly.
Boil some water, pull our your biggest mug and enjoy some Organic cold remedy tea by Yogi Teas their cold remedy blend includes healing herbs cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove. Not to mention peppermint for easier breathing, and soothing/coating licorice. Flavored with natural orange, this tea will soothe you all the way to feeling better, or at least happier.

When you wake yourself up coughing, it's time to reach for Boiron's homeopathic Cough Chestal Honey

It works like magic and isn't full of meds
to make you loopy and out of it. Plus if you are taking meds, you don't need to worry, Boiron is homeopathic and doesn't contain anything you need to worry about (for example, many cold/flu remedies contain things you don't need like acetaminophen, or other cold specific meds that may not be doing anything for you) Boiron's cough syrup will help with the following:
Helps loosen thick mucus, relieves dry and painful cough, relieves cough associated with tickling in the throat, hacking cough, we cough and any cough that's bothering you!

You've got no energy to do anything right? Well how often do you get to just be a couch potato? Catch up on Gossip Girl, clear you DVR and wrap yourself in West Elm's Organic Cotton throw and enjoy the pampering!


Unrelated: Puppies!

While this has no bearing on the environmental future of this planet, it is just unbearably precious!

I am not sure if you've all been watching the live puppy feed online like I's my new obsession, and since I am working from home, all the more reason to have it on all the time. There's 6 of them, each one cuter than the next....

OMG they are so cute!

Click to view: Live Puppy Feed

(warning!!! you may never work again)

ps. I am not sure what time the feed goes live, but it appears that it is not on during the night time....

Daily Eco: Eat Bananas

Eat Bananas! They are pretty darn close to the "perfect food" because they provides lots of your needed nutrients. Including potassium, vitamin C & B6, 4-7grams of fiber and only around 100 calories per medium sized banana.

Oh ya, and their packaging, très green!

Urban Branches Hearts Fall

DIY: Homemade Pasta

There's nothing as satisfying as making something from scratch. Messy, yes, time consuming, yes, but worth it, no doubt. We've been wanting to make homemade pasta for a while, and we had a blast do it. Here's the steps and ingredients you'll need (oh ya, that pasta machine will come in handy!)

You'll need a pasta maker, we got one for a wedding present, and we love it! Good holiday gift!

We have the Imperia Pasta Machine and really love it.

Ingredients: Serves 6
2 1/2 cups flour
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Flour your clean work space. Pour flour and make a well (scoop out the center). Add eggs and salt. Gradually work the flour into the eggs, mixing them slowly as you go.

2. After cleaning up your workspace, begin to knead dough for 10 minutes.

3. Shape into a ball, dust all around with flour and place in saran wrap, set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

4. Divide dough into 6 parts (as equal as possible). Begin with 1 piece, flatten as much as possible.

5. Using the pasta machine, feed dough into the widest setting, do this 3 times, then continue with each setting, running the dough through 2 times each until you are at the smallest setting.

* do this with two people, much easier!
*when you have the flatten sheets of dough, flour them so they don't stick to each other.

6. Once all dough has been flattened into sheets, let rest for 10 minutes (by the time you do all of them, the first piece will be ready to be cut)

7. Add the piece to the pasta machine that will cut dough into noodle shapes

8. Run dough through, have a container to catch pasta

9. COOK! Roughly 2-3 minutes in boiling, salted water

ENJOY your homemade creation! Now, if you make your own sauce, you've got it made!

Urban Branches: Link Time

It's link time!

*Now that we can all take breath again, we can start to get really excited about our next president elect! We all heard him make promise a new puppy to his girls! That puppy will come from a shelter, not a top breeder, go Obama! Way to make a statement! Not only is Obama going to support animal shelters but he's going to hopefully follow up on his statements to take care of the countries more:

*Premiering tonight on Animal Planet is Whale Wars, a show I've been excitedly waiting for. It is a documentary style series, capturing the work of the Sea Shepherd's mission to stop whaling. It premieres tonight on Animal Planet. Fore more information:

*For a peak into Barack Obama's energy plans check out this article:

Urban Branches Loves Obama


Daily Eco

Have dinner by candlelight this weekend, it's much more romantic! Think of all the poetry written by candlelight.....

Urban Branches are in Central Park

Kevin and I had been planning to walk around Central Park for weeks, something always came up, errands, rain or another distraction. Recently though, on a Indian Summer-like weekend we headed to Central Park for one last sunny and warm walk through the park. It was wonderful, full of happy people enjoying themselves, each other and the Park.

Just because Winter is coming doesn't mean you need to hunker down completely, I look forward to the first snow, I love walking around the neighborhood as it's blanketed in beautiful white snow (before it turns black as it always does here!)

Enjoy the outside you have around you! Even if your living in the City!