Posts Tagged ‘California’

Smart Irrigation Month

I’ve been visiting family here in my home state of CA this past month and temperatures have been very high! The idea of slip and slides and running through sprinklers have not been more appealing since childhood. Yet, just taking a few extra minutes in the shower makes me feel guilty. You see, on every major freeway you’ll find the lit up signs announcing the severe drought taking place here. It compelled me to look into the major causes and also share ways we can all pitch in and conserve water.

This isn’t just a problem in CA. Surprisingly, I learned that in the US  we have one of the highest averages of water use per person. Not surprising, I also learned that July is the peak month for water use. Through a campaign started in 2005 by the Irrigation Association it is now also considered Smart Irrigation Month. To learn more about how you can be involved and help support this cause visit their website: www.smartirrigationmonth.org.  You can also visit the EPA website and learn about the WaterSense program and products.

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WaterSense's Save Water Summer Infographic

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Live Good Baby Blanket Giveaway

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I was recently introduced to Live Good Inc., a company in California that sells Organic Home Products all made in the U.S.A. They offer a bed sheet, duvet and blanket line, a baby collection and some elegant decorative pillows, as well. Live Good’s philosophy is simple: to live both sustainably and well. Their mission is to help you take care of you, while taking care of the planet.

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I was sent this adorable “Live Good Baby” pillow from their Baby Collection. However, it goes great in my living room with my black and red decor. The word “baby” can always be used in a different context. 😉 I love this pillow. The bold red letters on the unbleached organic cotton canvas give it a modern, chic look. It also makes me feel good that it is not harmful to my family, pets, home or the environment.

 

 

 

 

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Live Good was also generous enough to send me this cute Organic Baby Blanket to give away to one lucky reader! The blanket measures a nice 35×30 inches and is machine washable. It is made from 100% Certified Organic French Terry, as well as organic dyes. A baby is so sensitive and vulnerable to outside pollutants and toxins. You want only the most natural and safest items to touch your baby’s skin. This cozy, warm blanket, in a neutral color, is a perfect alternative. It would also make a great gift. Enter the easy raffle below and get yours free. For more information or to view other products by Live Good Inc. visit their website: Click here 

To Enter GIVEAWAY: CLICK HERE

Participant must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the U.S.A.

All entries will be verified before winner is randomly selected.

Winner will be notified via email within 24 hours. Good luck!

Organic Autumn Reds

Now that Fall is in the air and we are in the midst of work and school routines, an evening glass of Red Wine sounds like the perfect way to unwind. It gets me anxious and excited for the holidays….my favorite time of year.  As we approach the festivities, I wanted to share some of my favorite Organic Wines. I’m a fan, not just because they’re organic or taste good, but also because these organic wines are very affordable, contrary to popular belief. They range in prices from $3.99 – $10.99 per bottle.  Here on the East Coast I can buy Organic Wines at my local Wine & Spirits. When in California, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market never fail in introducing me to a fantastic Eco-Friendly, Sustainable and/or Organic Wine.  It is important to read the labels carefully. A true Organic Wine can be much more beneficial to you. It does not contain grapes treated with strong chemicals and pesticides, nor does it contain added sulfites. We’ve all heard that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart, but if your wine is loaded with added chemicals and preservatives, the harm to your overall health is greater.  Additionally, because most Organic Wines are produced at Wineries and Vineyards that practice Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Farming methods, the soil and water will guarantee a flavorful wine.  After all, wine gets it’s flavor from the minerals in the soil. Lastly, in drinking Organic Wine you support the current Green Movement to ensure a healthier, safer planet for all living things and the future generations.  Hope you’ll consider one of the following, or something similar,when shopping for the holiday celebrations this season…

EMILIANA NATURA CARMENERE

Year: 2009

Region: Colchagua, Chile

Alcohol: 14%

Smell: Dark fruit aromas with a touch of pepper spice

Taste: A great fusion of plum, cherry and chocolate

Food Pairings: Beef, lamb, chicken, olives, tomatoes, green peppers, etc.

FINCA LUZON VERDE

Year: 2010

Region: Jumilla, Spain

Alcohol: 14%

Smell: Unoaked Red berries and floral aromas

Taste: Unoaked, intense cherry & dark fruit flavors with a kick of spice

Food Pairings: Beef, chicken, white fish, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads, etc.

GREEN FIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON

(only $3.99 at most Trader Joe’s!)

Year: 2011

Region : Madera, California

Alcohol: 13.5%

Smell: Aromas of dark fruits, cherries & hint of vanilla

Taste: Raspberry and red fruit flavors with traces of chocolate; oaky

Food Pairings: Steak, Buffalo, Pasta with tomato sauce, mushrooms, or drink alone.

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Summer of Organic Wines

Being in California for the Summer has reminded me of all the great perks that I grew up with on the West Coast. Yes, we have great weather, beautiful beaches, vast deserts, lovely mountains, countless and varied restaurants, a thriving nightlife, but best of all…

you can buy great and affordable wines at your local Trader Joes (or other grocery store)…more importantly, ORGANIC and ECO-friendly WINES!

This Summer I have rediscovered my love for white wines.  I was recently fortunate enough to sample the wine below and enjoyed it so much I had to share with my readers. Lucky for me, once I’m back on the East Coast, I can just simply place my order online and have my wines delivered to my door. To find out more click on the Organic Wine Company logo below.

Check it out:

PERFECT SUMMER WINE:

Wine:  Chateau Laubarit Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc

Attributes:          Vegan, Biodynamic, Certified by ECOCERT
            Grapes:               Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle
            Alcohol:              12%
Smell:                Guava, pineapple, peach.
Taste: Similar to the smell, complex summery fruit flavor while still maintaining an elegant and supple taste. Long finish.
Food Pairings:                Oysters, seafood, white meats, light dishes.
Wine Pairings:   Sauvignon Blanc, other sweet white wines with Muscadet.

Read more about this Wine: Click Here

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Buy 100% Organically Grown Wines Online!  www.TheOrganicWineCompany.com

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill…don’t panic, they’re organic!

Before having my daughter I was a vegetarian and a vegan for a while. All that changed when this pregnant mama craved nothing but Mexican Carne Asada and Patty Melts! Call it coincidence, but my daughter could live off of steak (or as she calls it, “carne”), beans and rice. I created a Mexican monster, and we’re not even Mexican. 😉 I grew up in Los Angeles where there are Mexican restaurants and fast food joints on almost every block. While I love an occasional sit-down-fancy-mexican-meal-where-I-pay-a-lot-of-money-to-get-stuffed-on-chips-and-salsa-before-my-meal-comes, some quick, healthy Mexican eats are a must on a much more regular basis. Imagine my delight when I discovered Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill in Hollywood, CA a few years ago…ORGANIC Mexican fast food?!?!?!? I’m sold.

Now, whenever we visit California, the little and I can’t wait to have lunch and/or dinner at Sharky’s. You will find us there at least once a week, ok, sometimes twice. We’ve been to the locations in Hollywood, Burbank, Toluca Lake, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. We have never been disappointed. A menu that includes organic rice and beans, organic greens, organic tofu even, and meat and chicken that are chemical and hormone-free, how could you go wrong?  I can’t get enough of the Nachos and their Naked Santa Fe Burrito with Steak. The mashed Yucatan yams are a must and their chips and salsa addicting. Oh and let me not forget, this fast food joint serves beer too, but I usually skip that and go for their Bahamian Tropical Iced Tea. I take full advantage of the free refills.

Steven Paperno, owner and founder of Sharky’s, had a mission and a vision before even opening Sharky’s many years ago, “Changing the way the world eats.” Thanks Steve. Ask my daughter why she loves Sharky’s so much and she will tell you, “It’s got the best rice and beans and burrito…and it’s organic.” Yeah, I’m doing my part to help with that mission too. 😉 One of Sharky’s philosophies reads, “Don’t Panic, We’re Organic.” Yup, basically one of the reasons I am comfortable taking her there to eat “fast food”.  I also have to mention that Sharky’s does not use any microwaves. Everything is prepared fresh on stone fired ovens and mesquite grills in an open kitchen right behind the ordering counter. Aside from the food, I also appreciate that I have always been treated well when visiting any Sharky’s location. I have always experienced friendly, fast service in a casual and very clean environment.

Being back in Pennsylvania, I haven’t really found good quality Mexican food in my area. There are a few places in the city and nearby areas that I will be giving a try. But no organic Mexican fast food around here. Some pretty decent places for Mexican food are Las Margaritas in Northeast Philly and Taqueria La Morena in Hatboro, my current favorite. Sadly, while I was in California recently, enjoying my Sharky’s, Tortillas Restaurant in Willow Grove closed its doors. I think the new Mad Mex chain that opened nearby may have been too much competition. So here I am, dedicating this post to Sharky’s simply because I am craving it so much that I thought a post was in order. After all, they are one of the pioneers of organic fast food. Maybe Steve will eventually bring the premier “Fresh-Mex Grill” to the East Coast. If not, it’s okay; nothing beats Cali-Mex food anyway. :-p

So if you plan on visiting Southern California, or you live there and haven’t been to a Sharky’s yet… umm, what are you waiting for???? Check out Sharky’s!

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Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Happy March…it’s National Nutrition Month!

The perfect time to start my new blog! I actually started my first one back in April of last year with WordPress, but after only a few entries I was swept away on a long Summer Vacation. Come Fall, I was offered a temporary teaching job in California, in my hometown, and soon all free time went out the door! Those 4-5 months were a renewal for me….a re-awakening. I have started 2012 more clear-headed and determined than ever. The future looks bright. So let’s hope it’s not all supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012!

I now begin this new blog with a clean slate and renewed sense of dedication and motivation. This first post is actually a test run. After major issues with my previous website provider (whose name I shall not mention out of manners)  my new website is up and running. It’s still under construction and revision but please, if you have a moment, check it out! I welcome all feedback. It will give you a better understanding of what The Little Green Playpen is all about. Thank you in advance! thelittlegreenplaypen

Just one tiny issue…my new website provider offers Blog services, as well. I think it would be great to utilize both platforms, but I’m still trying to find a way to link the two…if there is a way. If anyone is familiar with that type of thing, I would appreciate some insight.

Thanks…and Happy National Nutrition Month!