Crunchy Betty

My co-worker, partner-in-crime, graphic designer extraordinaire  Erica just introduced me to this very cool site. In her words, “I’m obsessed with this blog.  It’s all about natural hippie-crunchy hair and skincare. Love it!” 

Now this, GE Followers, is something I can get on board with.

Everyone, meet Crunchy Betty

Go on and click the link…g’head… it’s ok, I’ll wait while you do.


Addendum to: Back to Basics: Heinz White Vinegar, it’s all you need

Hi folks,

Since the inception of this blog, I have been trying to convince friends and family members to stop buying commercial cleaning products. Instead, I would like for everyone buy a gallon or two of white vinegar, a 13.5 lb bag of baking soda and all of your cleaning problems will be solved without harming good ole’ Mother Earth.

Recently, I blogged about the multitude of uses White Vinegar has in this post.  I also blogged about an earth-friendly laundry detergent called: Charlie’s Soap.   And yet…[sigh]… no matter how much I preach (and at times I do feel a bit, well, preachy) my friends insist on buying fancy so-called eco-friendly cleaning products such as Method and Mrs. Meyers believing these products are equal to, if not greater than, vinegar and baking soda.

This morning, via Word Press Freshly Pressed page , I read the following Freshly Pressed Post about how plastic is harming the albatross (among other animals).  This isn’t the first time I have read about the dangers of plastic to our wildlife.  It also isn’t  the first time I have read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch   If you read through the comments to the post, you will see the writer links you to the following site:  Well what do you know! Right there on the front page (so-to-speak) is an article about how Mrs. Meyer’s so-called “eco-friendly” cleaning products are in fact, not so “eco-friendly” after all.  Hmmmmmmmmm.  Why am I not surprised. Slap on a few fancy labels and marketers ease the guilt of consumers.  I liken this to our food labeling: Grass-Fed Beef; Organic Milk with pictures of Happy Cows on the container, or “free-range chickens”.  It’s all just labeling — just because something says it’s eco-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.  Have you noticed bottles of vinegar do not say, “Eco-friendly”? That’s because they don’t have to! Duh!  If you have to tell someone what it is, chances are it is not.  Muhammad Ali used to say, “I’m the greatest!”  Well, actually sweetie, not if you have to say it.  Sorry.

Folks, don’t be fooled by labels.  Stop trying to find the most convenient. Do me a favor. Take a drive to Costco and fill up your cart with  a couple of gallons of white vinegar and 13.5 lb bag of baking soda.  I guarantee, you will only need make this trip once maybe two times a year.  Use up your so-called eco-products. Rinse out the bottle, and  fill them with 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water.  Keep the bottles along with your bag of baking soda under the sink in your kitchen,  so as to have them handy for when you’re ready to clean the house.

In closing, I believe climate change exists. I believe man and the factory animal farming industry are having an adverse affect on our planet. I believe every time we turn our backs on reducing our carbon footprint, we are spitting in the eye of Mother Nature.  As the late great Kurt Vonnegut said in 2005 on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “I think we are terrible animals. And I think our planet’s immune system is trying to get rid of us and it should.” 

I do not want to see what has happened to the good people of  NYC/NJ happen again or happen to anyone else. Just like I had hoped what happened to the good people of Louisiana would never happen again.  And yet horrible things keep happening.  Why? I was pondering this very question on my train ride into work this morning when I decided to check my company Blackberry and there, waiting in my work email was a post from No Impact Man.   If you have never heard of No Impact Man, then I encourage you to check out his site. But more importantly, I encourage you, at the very least, to read yesterday’s post.

I agree with No Impact Man, we need to band together and reduce our impact our planet, we need to act now, before it is too late.

I hope you will at the very least consider it.  Thanks.




Back to Basics: Heinz White Vinegar. It’s all you need.

Could we get back to basic and to the premise of this blog? Every day we are inundated by chemicals, pollutants, and toxins. Chemical companies are working very hard to convince us that we need air fresheners and Febreze to make our homes smell good. They are also trying to convince us we need for harsh chemicals to keep our homes clean.  Did you know that most homes contain higher amounts of indoor air pollution than the air in a major city? Well it’s no wonder with all the chemicals being push onto us at every turn.

Enough already!

Got a house to clean? Call on Heinz White Vinegar to do the job — it’s all you need.

Scrap those expensive so-called “green” and/or toxic cleaners. Instead, fill up a spray bottle 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water and what you’ll have is a multipurpose cleaner for:

  • The shower: After each use, spray your shower down with the vinegar-water solution I mentioned above and honey, call it a day. The vinegar will keep the soap scum build up at bay.  Although, due to the fact I am anal (natch) I like to squeegee my shower after I spray it down.
  • Floors: Use the solution to spray and wipe up spills off the floor. My cats are infamous for pushing food off of their dishes so when they are done eating, I spray the area and wipe.
  • Better yet, how about mopping your floor? Fill a bucket with water, add 1-2 cups of vinegar mop your floor and feel good knowing your kids and pets will not be walking through or smelling harsh chemicals disguised as manufactured floral essence.
  • Windows:  Spray, wipe with a damp cloth, squeegee and fughedaboudit! Oh and lose the Windex!
  • Toilets:  Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of Arm & Hammer’s Baking Soda into the toilet bowl, watch the concoction bubble up, scrub toilet, flush and voila! Clean toilet with no harsh chemicals or fumes. Do the same for the bathroom sink, but ah, don’t use the toilet brush, be sure to use a sponge.    😉
  • Laundry: If you read my recent post: Could we chat about laundry detergent? Well then you know I use Charlie’s Soap to clean my laundry. And to make my towels oh so fluffy soft, I will add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash.  Who needs fabric softener? Puh-lease!
  • Mold: Have you noticed mold on the vinyl siding of your house? Spray it with straight white vinegar and watch it disappear.
  • Kitchen sink: Sprinkle Arm & Hammer Baking Soda all over the sink, spray with your Vinegar/Water Solution, let it bubble up,  scrub with the rough side of a sponge and then rinse and enjoy staring at  your reflection in the stainless. Awe…
  • Clogged drain? Forget Liquid Plumber that stuff is caustic!Instead, pour 1 cup of baking soda down drain and 1 cup of vinegar —  allow to sit. After about 10 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain.  If this doesn’t clear your clogged drain, repeat until it does. I used this method to unclog  the drain in an old house that had sat unoccupied since 2010. Ya baby, that’s right.

Oh but the smell, you say? Get over it, seriously!  If the smell bothers you that much, add a few lemon rinds or essential oils.  Quite frankly, I don’t even notice the smell any more.   Besides, which would your rather have, the smell of vinegar or harsh chemicals which contain neurotoxins dressed up as lavender or vanilla?…

Oh and if your home smells, open up some G.D. windows and air it out.  I do this religiously every weekend, throughout the year – even during the coldest of New England months.

Lastly, if the fabric of your couch, drapes, throw pillows et al. smell, place these items outside for a few hours or all day.  I love nothing more than the smell of my comforter, bed pillows, throw pillows and furniture cushions after they have spent and entire Saturday outside in the fresh air.  Lawn and patio furniture isn’t just for lounging ya know — use it to place the aforementioned items.   I like to drape my comforter and throws over my clothesline, which is another topic I have been meaning to blog about…my clothesline, oh do I love thee? Let me count the ways…


So many GiRRL_Earth topics to blog about and so little time…

Vegan Cold Process Soap Pictorial Method, Recipe and Giveaway

In light of my recent post about soap, Somer (my favorite vegan blogger) commented that she makes her own soap and shared with me, the link to her recipe, which I am in turn sharing with all of you. If your like me and have been thinking about making your own soap, to use and to give as gifts, now is your chance. And please, please, PLEASE, be sure to thank Somer and give credit where credit is due.

Thanks Somer!
-Susan a.k.a. GE 🙂

Good Clean Food

Did you know that most commercial soap on the market contains sodium tallowate? In case you don’t know, sodium tallowate is basically beef tallow, or fat that comes from cows, and a by-product of the meat industry. I find commercial soap pretty drying to my skin, especially in Utah, where if you forget to apply a heavy duty moisturizer, you can look like an alligator. So I’ve been making my own cold process soap for over a decade. Wanna join me?

The equipment you need

An accurate kitchen scale, 2 glass or stainless bowls (not pictured above), a wooden spoon, a stick blender, Soap Mold (a rectangular glass container is used here), 3 or 4 tupperware containers of various sizes for measuring lye, oils and water into (not pictured above) Plastic Wrap, Candy making thermometer (not pictured above), Long Chemical Resistant Gloves, dishwashing variety gloves will do fine in a pinch, cuff…

View original post 1,447 more words

Did you just take a shower with animal fat? Oh I bet you did. Ewwwww!

Part of being a vegan means analyzing the other areas of your life to see if the products you are using (and wearing) are vegan and earth-friendly.

Before I became a vegan, I used to have these little red bumps on the back of my upper arms. No matter what I did, I could not eliminate these bumps.  I made repeated trips to the doctor who prescribed Rx after Rx. Some were topical creams, others were to be used in the shower but none were successful at removing the bumps.

That was then, this is now.

When I became a vegan, I switched to Dr. Bronner bar soap.  (I also switched my laundry detergent which you can read about in this post).  I cannot say for sure how much time passed but at some point I realized the bumps on my arm disappeared.

Yesterday afternoon I met up with two of my fellow vegan co-workers: Greg and Thomas.  Greg is the expert amongst the three of us (and the most accomplished!).  During our conversation, I learned that Greg makes his own vegan soap, which he sells on  (my favorite site).  He calls it *Man Soap* (adorable!).  I also learned that most soaps, including the one I used to use (Read: Dove) contains Tallow.   So what’s Tallow you ask?  In a word (or two): Animal Fat.

Mmmmmmm.  Not!

I knew most of the commercially sold soaps are not vegan, but I don’t think I ever really thought about what these soaps contained.  Maybe I didn’t want to know.

Animal fat? Gross!

Is time to reevaluate your soap? Um, yah, I think so.

I’m not saying you have to be  vegan to use vegan soap, but we are not Pilgrims and this aint 1620 so why would you bathe with soap made from rendered animal fat?  I mean hell, save yourself a buck or two and use the fat from that last batch of breakfast bacon you cooked.  Imagine smearing that all over your body while you shower?  It’s not the same thing you say? Well what’s so different about it?  The soap you are using contains rendered animal fat and added fragrance. If that doesn’t wig you out, noodle on this: Greg said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “Your skin is the largest organ of the human body. What you put on your body is the equivalent of putting in your mouth.”

If you wouldn’t put rendered animal fat with added fragrance in your mouth, why would you use it on your body?

Do me and my fellow vegans a favor, take a trip on over to, man up, and buy yourself some Man Soap!


P.s.  Sorry about the Oxford Comma Book Peeps!



Cutting the Cord with Cable, well almost.

So guess what I did last Friday? C’mon guess?  Give up? I changed my Comcast Cable Subscription to *basic*.  Yah that’s right, buh-BUH-basic!  Do you want to know why? Because I am up to here (side of hand to middle of forehead) with paying the man, m-kay? When I moved, Comcast offered me a promo: basically a shit-ton of premium channels (and internet) for 80 bucks.  Far be it for me to pass up a deal.  After all, according to Azz, I am a “Chewy” (half Catholic; half Jew).  When I locked in this deal, the Comcast Service Rep said when the promo expires; I will be charged the full cost.  Whut-evah! Because I am so organized anal, I set reminders in my Outlook calendar for when the promo was due to expire. A few days before the expiration date (Read: last Friday), I called and canceled all the premium channels. That’s when I decided to take it one step further and cut my cable down to basic. I don’t have time TV, let alone Cable TV.  If you’re me, then you’re spending every waking (not walking) hour working on a money-pit of a house.  Believe me when I say after spending a full day or more, neck-deep in some suck-ass project (projects like: The Back Porch), who the hell has the energy for TV? I’m lucky if I can stay awake past 8:30 p.m. on a regular day. I will say this, it wasn’t easy changing my cable to basic, no sir and it’s not what you think. They, you know the *they* on the other end of the Comcast Customer Service line wouldn’t let me. I’m telling you, the woman I spoke with should receive an Academy Award or an Emmy for her performance. I have to hand it to her. If it were me, I’d be on the line agreeing with the customer.  I mean seriously, Cable, Dish, Direct TV, Fios et al. is the biggest racket out there.  Am I right? Would you believe that despite having reduced my cable down to basic, I still have to pay?  Christ! I’m old enough to remember a time before cable TV, remote controls, cell phones and internet!  Yes, I’m that old!  What really burns my ass is I’m paying for stations that used to be FREE!  What do you get with basic cable, you ask? [Well you might want to sit down for this.]  What you get with basic Cable is (drum roll please) Channels 2-22. Taadaaaaaaaaa!   [Are you ok out there?  Do you need a minute?] Hey listen, as previously mentioned, 2-22 is just fine and dandy because I don’t watch much TV anyway, in fact who needs TV at all? But that aside, it still goes up my arse 90 MPH that I’m paying for channels that used to be free, ah hello?

Maybe I should just cut the cord forever…

Well call me His Girl Friday because I did a little digging (natch) and as it turns out there is a plethora of ways to get TV stations without paying for them (did the heavens just part?).  I found a slew of fantastic, informative sites explaining how to cut the cord with cable; however, the one site I felt was the most information without being overly tech-y is this one from Wise Bread (my all time favorite site).  I also found this article.  I’ll spare you the details of the articles. I mean hey, if you’re intersted in learning more, you’ll click on the link. If not, well that’s ok too.    🙂

A time for reflection…

I never thought I’d see the day when I would hear myself repeating (or agreeing with) what my parents used to say when I was a kid: “TV rots your brain.”  Five thousand channels and there is never anything on but fake reality TV.  Have you ever thought about the countless hours of your life you’ve wasted in front of the TV? Do you find yourself vegging out on the weeknds in front of the TV while a list of things you should be doing rattle around in your head? I know people who cannot make time for exercise (something that is good for them and will keep them healthy), but always manage to remember to watch the line-up of their favorite shows.  These are the same people who claim they never have time to cook a meal, either.

Sad, right?

Do you want to know why my (shrinking & old) Italian father dislikes Cable? Because as he says, “If I want a loaf of bread, then I go to the market and buy a loaf of bread. But with cable, I have to buy eggs, milk, cheese, toilet paper before I can buy the bread.”  Well put, dad.  In other words, you cannot get the stations you want, without the stations you don’t want.  Bundling bastards!

In closing, allow me end with this thought:  Do you ever wonder how productive (Read: healthier:  physically and mentally) everyone would be, if we eliminated TV and Facebook from our lives (which is why I don’t do Facebook)? Heck, let’s take it one step further, let’s eliminate computers and mobile phones altogether.  Personally, I find spending an entire labor-intensive day outside very cathartic – it clears my head.  On a typical Saturday (or Sunday) you will see me outside mowing the lawn, edging, weeding and tending to my garden. After a full day of hard work and a nice hot shower to follow, I feel like a million bucks – a feeling going to the gym has never given me. I’m convinced the reason is because of the fresh air and sunshine, but also the constant exercise: walking, lifting, bending, pulling… its great, and no gym required.    Recently on NPR I heard some statistic that X (I forget the exact number) number of Americans are on anti-depressants.  That’s really sad (BTW, no judgement from this corner of cyberspace world but it is sad all the same).  Perhaps what these people need is some time away from the TV (and computer) and more time outside. Physical labor never killed anyone, at least, not that know of.

So before you turn on the TV, ask yourself, “Is there something else, something more productive I could be doing instead of watching TV?”  Think of the energy you will conserve (not to mention the $$$ you will save) by not turning on your electronics.  Hey, I gotta tell ya, nothing and I mean nothing makes me happier than a low utility bill.  I also saved $$$ by canceling my gym membership, with no regrets.  Since moving to this house I get more exercise from not going to the gym, then I did when I was faithfully going to the gym.  Noodle on that for a bit.

If you’re like me and desperately trying to reduce my carbon footprint (which is the point of this blog), then consider the amount of energy your electronics suck and leave them turned off for a full day or two.  You know how we have *Meatless Mondays*, well why not consider a *No Electronics Saturday or Sunday*.  By literally unplugging and leaving my electronics off 1 day a month, sometimes more, last month’s electric bill was $30.  How much was your bill?

Yours truly,


Composting = Reduction in curb-side trash. Can I get a woot?!?!

Howdy GE Followers!

Today is trash/recycle curbside pick-up on my street. Last night, as I wheeled the recycle bin out to the curb, I looked down my street (both ways) to see how many people had placed both their trash and recycle bins on the curb. Answer: everyone, except…moi!  In my household, it takes almost 2 months to fill a trash bin. How can that be you ask? Because I compost – and I compost just about every darn thing you can think of. There is a list (and probably more extensive) on what you should never compost and some of those items are:  meat, bones, dairy, fish, cat litter and cat poop. I know there are others  items you shouldn’t compost but I can only remember these items.  Of course, I do not have to worry about composting such nasty items because I am a vegan.  Can I get an atta girl?

I won’t bore you with the list of things I do compost but suffice it to say, if the item cannot be thrown into the recycle bin, well then I am tossing it into the composter. In fact, last week, someone-who-will-remain-nameless ate a Lynwood’s pizza and left the cardboard circular remnants behind on the kitchen table, so I happily Frisbee tossed those into the composting bin.  Score!

IMHO there is no reason why you shouldn’t (or couldn’t) compost.  Unless of course, you live in the city were composting is near impossible.   Granted I have a garden, which benefits from my composter but you can compost, despite a garden.   I often wonder why more people, especially in the suburbs do not compost, seeing as it’s so easy (and reduces your trash).

Since moving into an old 1915 home (previous owner lived there for 75 years), I no longer have the following amenities: garbage disposal, dishwasher, and microwave (did I just hear a gasp?).  How do I function without these amenities you ask? Quite easily as a matter of fact.   I won’t lie, having had a beautiful kitchen, I did have some concerns about moving into such an outdated home with an outdated kitchen.  But to my surprise, I can live without these amenities; furthermore, I do not miss them.

In one corner of my pantry, I keep a kitchen counter composter (KCC) lined with bio bags (that I purchase from Gardener Supply).  I toss everything into the KCC and I do mean everything: food scraps, used tissues, PT, shredded junk mail etc. When the bag is full, I knot the top and toss it into my composter, give it a bit of a stir, and walk back into the house. During the colder months, I kept a galvanized bin with a lid in my enclosed back porch.  I toss my full bio bags into the bin and when that becomes full, I take the bin down to the composter and toss the contents. I don’t worry about stirring the composter because it was winter, so like, who cares, right?

Two years ago when I read the The Kind Life, Alicia Silverstone recommended doing away with your microwave (for health reasons).  I never really used the micro much, but it was nice to have around just in case I needed to nuke something.  I moved into my current home during school vacation week (February 2012) and I have been microwave-less since. Quite honestly, you may not believe it when I tell you: I. Do. Not. Miss. Having. A. Microwave. What if you want popcorn or need to reheat leftovers, you ask?  Worry not dear GE follower, I have the answer.  Some time ago, my boss had given me a very generous gift cert to Crate & Barrel (as a house warming  gift) and I used that gift cert to purchase a popcorn air popper (among other things) and I have to say, I love air popped popcorn more than microwave popcorn.  I had tried popping corn the old fashioned way, in a pot with safflower oil, but I found the popcorn to be a bit heavy.  I’m not worried about the calories (if that’s what you’re thinking) because after all, I’m a vegan, so the only way I can get fats into my diet is via oils, coconut oil, avocados etc.  As for reheating leftovers – simple: I use the stove like people used to before microwaves were invented (and I remember when they didn’t exist!).

I’ve read that washing dishes by hand wastes more water than if you use a DW. Well, if that is true, I suppose the Environ Police are going to slap me with a citation because I wash by hand. Do I miss not having a DW? Suuuure! I really could have used one when we celebrated my 45 birthday (this past March) and someone-who-will-remain-nameless insisted we have it catered by our favorite Indian restaurant (the man sure does love his chicken tikka masala! And whose birthday is it anyway?).   Actually, having Indian at my party was a win-win for all because I ordered vegetarian, vegan and non-vegan items.

In closing, there really isn’t any reason why you cannot compost, especially if you live in the ‘burbs. If you’re worried about it smelling or attracting animals, well you need not worry. There are many different styles of composters (check if you don’t feel like making one) and because you are not tossing: meat/bones/dairy/fish you will not attract animals. Occasionally I’ll see a nosey squirrel rooting around in my composter but very rarely does he climb out with anything edible in his chops. In fact lately, he (or maybe it’s a she) has been giving my mammoth sunflowers (which recently bloomed) the hairy eyeball so I’ve got bigger problems on my hands.  Said squirrel went so far as to jump on my roof in an attempt to Navy SEAL his way down so as to land on top of one of my sunflowers — funny to watch – not so funny when he/she nearly broke the flower stalk.   As for smell – seriously, it’s a non-issue. I keep 2 bins behind my garage (which receives ample sun/rain/circulation) and I have never ever smelled the contents of my composter – even when I’m standing next to it.  That’s another thing: make sure you composter receives sufficient sun/rain/circulation – so it thrives. You do not want your composter to receive too much sun (drying out is a bad thing) but you also do not want it to reside in a place that is dark/shady causing your composter to remain soggy.  Maintaining a thriving composter does require one to take such factors into consideration, which may sound like a lot of work but seriously it isn’t.  Besides, composting is a nice thing to do for Mother Earth and don’t you want to do nice things for her?

Yours truly,


© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

Could we chat about Laundry Detergent?

Have you seen the latest laundry detergent commercials? My particular favorite (Note: sarcasm) is the one with the young couple with triplets who switched to a cheaper laundry detergent, but found themselves using more because their laundry wasn’t coming clean, so they switched back to Tide.  O.M.G.! Give me an [effing] break! Laundry detergent is laundry detergent. Sure, some might contain more water, but they all contain the same principle ingredients, one of which is:P-E-T-R-O-L-E-U-M; yep, good ole Mr. Crude.  Imagine? You’re washing your laundry with a petroleum-based product.  Believe it or not, laundry detergent leaves a residue on your clothes, which in turn weighs down the fabric, causing it to appear dull.  Back in the ‘80s or ‘90s (I cannot recall when) several companies started marketing ceramic disks that claim to clean your laundry without detergent. Turns out, the manufacturers figured out that there were enough detergent residues on your clothes, from previous washings, that you could literally wash your clothes again (even after wearing them) without the use of detergent.

Noodle on that for a bit…

People argue about cutting our dependence on foreign oil and yet are blithely unaware of how many products they use on a day-to-day basis that contains petroleum.  To name a few: laundry detergent, fabric softer, lip gloss, lip balm, baby oil, Vaseline… the list goes on.

I have known people who dump more [pardon my French] shit in their washing machine believing it will make their clothes cleaner and fresher.  If you are pouring anything other than white vinegar and washing soda, well then Sweetie, you are wasting your hard-earned dollars.  Manufacturers of laundry detergents have bamboozled the American public into believing more detergent = cleaner clothes and fabric softener in its array of manufactured *scents* means our clothes smell as clean as they look.  Wrong!   Most people do not even know what clean laundry smells like.  All they smell is the perfume they have dumped on their clothes during the rinse cycle.

Oh I can hear you now: “Ok Girrl-Earth, what should we wash our laundry with if detergent is a no-no.” Non vi preoccupare (don’t worry), I have the answer and it is: Charlie Soap. I bought a container of Charlie Soap over a year ago and I’m still dipping into it.  It comes with a measuring scoop so you only need a little bit.  What about fabric softer and dryer sheets, you ask?  Listen! Do me, you and Mother Earth a favor and STOP USING THAT SHIT!!!! In the words of Charlie Soap: “If you want perfume, buy flowers.”

Now, with all that said, there is a process to using Charlie Soap. First you have to remove the detergent residue from your washing machine, and then you will see the results of Charlie Soap. If you have the patience, it is worth it.  My sheets, towels and clothes never looked or smelled better.  Side Note: if you find your towels are a bit stiff, and you find yourself being drawn back to Mr. Fabric Softer, before you do, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash and your towels will turn out fluffy and soft  — and then please step…away…from…the  fabric softener!

And for those of you concerned about he   washing machines, rilassare (relax), Charlie Soap is safe with all he  machines.

And if you are wondering about Method laundry detergent, quite honestly, I have no idea if their detergent is petroleum-based or not. Since I have been using Charlie Soap I highly doubt I will waste $$$ on Method.

Here are the instructions for a first time user of Charlie Soap: or see below:

Are you a first time user of Charlie’s Soap for Laundry?


1) Run a large/heavy empty load with two (2) doses of Charlie’s Soap and a few old rags to clear your washing machine of any residue left by other detergents. (I used old towels).  2) Your garments may require several washings before you notice the lasting benefits of using Charlie’s Soap – low suds, softer clothes, clean scent, etc. For a good demo, wash the same load (bath towels, for instance) three (3) consecutive times. This simulates a month’s worth of doing laundry removing most residues.  3) If you have any questions, please call or email us at

In closing, I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t give a rat’s fuzzy you-know-what about the impact they are having on the planet. Their mindset is, I have the money, so I can afford to buy case-loads of laundry detergent, bottled water, convenience packaged foods for my kids, et-cetera, with nary a care. And there really isn’t anything I (or anyone else) can say or do to convince them otherwise.  But past experience has proven that these very same people are the first to cry out when an injustice happens, asking, “Why didn’t someone do something about this?”  as if they are exempt from the problem, when in fact, they are the problem.   Big corporations slap pretty labels on everything to ease the guilt of consumers.  They make their products *recyclable * which in turn, causes the consumer to think, It’s ok if my family churns through case load after case load of individual bottled water, the bottles can be recycled (whew!).  Or  I do eat meat but it’s grass fed or I only buy organic, free-range eggs.    If you believe these labels, you are buying into the propaganda and quite honestly, it makes me sad.  There is no such thing as *happy meat or eggs* and most convenience food packaging and empty bottles of water are never recycled – they wind up in landfills or the ocean.   The next time you shop at Costco or BJs ask yourself, Do I really need this pre-packaged, individual servings of this product, or can I buy a large container and measure out portions in re-usable containers? As for water? Invest in a Zero water filter/pitcher and non-BPA water bottles and call it a day.  Grazie.

Your’s truly,


© 2012 GiRRL_Earth

Long time, no blogging…

Dear GE Followers, ahhhummm…that is, if I still have any followers. 😦

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I know and I am sorry. Work and personal life have been insane! There is a new executive in my office whom I am also supporting.  I recently closed on my 4th home, in a new town, one I am not familiar with.  It’s a cute old house, built in 1915 and it hasn’t been updated since! Okay, well that’s not entirely true, it was last updated in 1940 but seriously, that was the last time so as you can imagine, the house is in need of some serious updating. Can you say horse hair plaster anyone???… Of course the fabulous man and his crew have been working on the house which is grrrreat.  Plus, I am gearing up to move into said house. Whew! (wiping brow)

Anyway, the reason for this post is, I wanted to really quickly blog about something that has been bothering me.  Family, friends, co-workers etc… have all been complaining to me that they hate to rinse their recyclables before tossing into the recyle bin and hey I get it. I even shared a blog from Alicia Silverstone’s blog The Kind Life about rinsing before tossing which is in my archives. Please know, I understand where you are coming from, I really do. I’ve been there but now rinsing my recycling has become part of my pot and dish washing routine so I don’t really give it a thought — it’s all autopilot at this point. 

Well, today I was chatting with some co-workers about rinsing hard to clean recycle items like tubes of lotion, toothpaste, makeup etc… then I had to run to a meeting.  When I got back there was a post from Alicia about this very topic.  How fortuitous!  If you’re curious, you can check out her blog here: 

Or, continue reading…

The solution to these hard to clean items is to CUT the item open.  How frickin’ awesome is that? I have tubes of lotion etc… at home that I have been collecting, fearful of tossing into the recycle bin because I didn’t know how to clean them, that is… until now. Can I get a WOOT! (Yes I know, WOOT is game speak for We Own Other Team).  I cannot wait to go home and cut open the various tubes of lotion, toothpaste etc… Finally, a solution to this dilemma.


Of course what is really blowing my mind is, why the hell didn’t I think of this?! Sheesh!

Ah well, what’s important is that someone thought of a solution.

Until then, your ever loyal, always learning to be green, Girrl-Earth.


Bottled Water is Evil. I mean, seriously.

I subscribe to Ethical Ocean and below are some factoids about bottled water and why you should stop buying it.  That said, I work for a large corporation that purchases case upon case of bottled water. Our kitchens are well stocked in bottled water, juice, and soda. I wish I could convince my employer to stop buying bottled water, but I am almost certain, I would be met with hositility and resistance. Either that or my plea would only fall on deaf ears.  In any event… read on and please spread the word. 

BTW, I am old enough to remember a time when Bottled Water didn’t exist!

From: Ethical Ocean:

I think we all have an idea that bottled water may not be the best for the planet.  All those extra plastic bottles rarely make it to the recycling depot (in fact, 75% end up in the trash), and it takes a lot of energy to produce, process and ship bottled water.  How much exactly?  7.6 MJ per 1L bottle produced: 4MJ to produce the bottle, and an average of 3.6MJ to ship it and refrigerate it.

Ok mister science pants, you might be thinking, 7.6 MJ is a pretty abstract number…What does that actually mean?  Here it is in more tangible measure:

  • 667 mL of crushed coal per 1L bottle (i.e 2/3 full) for production
  • 250 mL diesel fuel per 1L bottle (i.e. 1/4 full) for shipping and refrigeration
  • 3L of water per 1L bottle (including the litre you drink)

Quite a lot isn’t it?  Still not convinced that this is wasteful?  Consider this: keeping in mind the 7.6MJ from before, tap water by comparison uses about 0.005MJ per litre.  That means that bottled water uses about 1500x as much energy as tap water – and here’s the kicker… 50% of bottled water is actually just tap water, including Coke’s Dasani and Pepsi’s Aquafina.

Yep, they are taking tap water which you essentially get for free, packaging it up in a package which uses 1500 times the energy and will likely be thrown away in the end, and then charging you a huge premium for the same free water you get in your home.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

Want to learn more?

We’ve put together a great video summarizing this information, check it out and pass it on to others:
For those interested in where these numbers came from, check out our calculations here:
And finally, our wildly popular blog post written by one of our founders, Lena Lam:

Thank you for joining the conversation!

 -The Ethical Ocean Team

Ban Plastic Bags

This was recently posted on

so I am posting it on my blog.  Please ban your use of plastic bags. If you do not believe plastic bags are having an adverse effect on our environment, then watch this video from the site:

I always carry and/or keep in my car small and large Whole Foods reusable bags. There really is no excuse not to use cloth bags.  I can remember a time when plastic bags didn’t exist and we had to bring our own paper bags to the grocery store.  This was during the 1970s. 

If you care at all about Mother Earth, please make the effort and stop using plastic bags. 

Thank you. 





Swiffer, the clogger of landfills…

“Ma’am, have you been cleaning your floors with Swiffer?” 

          “Guilty as charged, your Honor.”


I am one of the many, out of God only knows how many… thousand, maybe even millions of people using Swiffer to clean my hardwood and tile floors.  Shame on me!  After becoming a disciple of Broke-Ass Grouch, I knew using Swiffer was wrong. But in fairness to me, I had a huge container of them so what’s an eco-challenged girl to do?  I wanted to stop using them. I knew it was wrong to continue using them, but what was I supposed to do, dump the unused container in the trash?… Rationalizing my behavior, I figured, heck, might as well use up the remaining pre-moistened pads and once the container is empty, vow to never, ever, purchase another Swiffer product again.  There, I’ve said it.

Ever wonder what chemicals are used to make Swiffer? I mean seriously, what is in that stuff? Judging by how long the chemical smell lingers in my home, it cannot be good for me, my six cats or the environment.  A couple of months ago, I purchased a mop and a bucket and attempted to clean my hardwood floors with diluted vinegar and water solution. Turns out, that solution leaves yucky water mark streaks all over the hardwood. No issues with the tiles though, so this is strictly a hardwood floor dilemma.  Prior to my Swiffer days, I used Murphy’s Oil Soap.  Although, now that I’m more eco-conscience, I cannot imagine Murphy’s Oil Soap is an eco-friendly product either. What do you suppose the base product is petroleum? I’m too tired to look it up.  [Sigh.] Why so tired you might ask? It would seem, my work hours have been kicking the shit out of me, and this doesn’t include my commute to/from the city 5 days a week.  I’m not complaining. I am grateful to have a job and I work with a great group of people but some weeks are more exhausting than others. 

What to do. What to do?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. 


Well GE Followers, any suggestion(s) on what I should use to clean my hardwood floors that is eco-friendly and CHEAP? It has to be cheap. Thanks to Broke-Ass, I’ve been cleaning just about every surface or item in my household with baking soda and vinegar.  My stainless steel kitchen sink has never looked better…and what a great way to remove soap residue from the shower without noxious chemicals that will alter my DNA structure. [Heavy Sigh] I wish my grandmothers were alive, seeing as both hailed from the old country (Italy) and were poor, I’m quite certain they would have the answer(s) to my dilemma. 

Ok. Ok.  I know what you’re thinking, Swiffer is so convenient.  It’s true, it is, but at what cost? First off, from a financial standpoint, Swiffer isn’t cheap. Secondly, it produces so much waste.  Please don’t tell me those pads are biodegradable. C’mon? After how many years are we talking?  Shit, I would bet that if archeologists were to dig us up, they wouldn’t find “a series of small walls” rather, they’d find all kinds of crap we used to make our lives more convenient all the while being bamboozled into believing were “biodegradable”.  Pishaw!  If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 44 snarky years on this planet is that that big business doesn’t give a rat’s fuzzy about me, you, animals or the environment. All they care about is the bottom line. 

After I resurrect some energy, I will research this dilemma further and then share what I have discovered. 


Until then GE Followers…


© 2011 GiRRL_Earth




Ummm, actually, before I sign off, I keep promising to post about water bottles and about how the bottle caps cannot be recycled the same way the bottles are due to the fact it is a different plastic.  If you’d like to learn more about plastic recycling, mainly: bottles, caps, jars etc., check in with    Quite frankly, with all that we know about our environment and plastic, you’d think people would stop buying bottled water.  As for me, I stopped buying bottled water two years ago. Instead, I use a Zero Water pitcher and I love it. It comes with a digital reader and a chart that allows you to test your water to see where it is at in terms of pollutants.  I also use re-usable, BPA-free water bottles.   Here is the link from regarding recycling plastic caps.   Enjoy!



Baking Soda, a thousand and one uses…

As promised, here is my post on Baking Soda. Woot!

Yah, okay, so maybe a thousand and one uses is a bit of an exaggeration but I would bet if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with close to a thousand uses for baking soda.  Do you recall in my last post that I purchased a 13.5 lb bag at Costco for $6 bucks and change? Well yesterday I cleaned my entire house with the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of cleaning products: Baking Soda and White Vinegar.   Applause. Applause. Applause.

For those of you living under a rock, you can use the above mentioned dance couple in the following ways:

Toilets:  Add 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar  – allow to stand, scrub and voila! No toxic chemical smell and no harming Mother Earth or you, for that matter.

You can also clean the following with the aforementioned:  drains, surfaces, teeth, dishwasher, and laundry. In fact, if you go to the Arm & Hammer website, click on Solutions you will see a whole list of things you can do with baking soda (and white vinegar). Just to make it easier for you, here is the link, thank me later.

So what do you say? Rather than spend a fortune on high-priced, fancy, eco-friendly cleaning products, why not use up the last of what you have and replace them with a nice big bag of baking soda  and 1 gallon of white vinegar? Just think,  not only will you will save the earth but you’ll save your health and the health of your family?

Before I sign off, I would like to share an interesting tidbit that I read recently (and I am paraphrasing): People do not want to spend big money on eco-friendly products when they can purchase cheaper, larger quantities of the toxic stuff.  Apparently, during these tough economic times, people would rather pay for a 1 gallon bottle of bleach, than pay more money, for, say, 28 oz +/- of an eco-friendly bleach replacement products.   People want to stretch their hard-earned dollar. When faced with a choice, people will choose money over the environment. I get that mindset, I really do. But, I don’t want to hurt the earth and I don’t want expose myself to harsh chemicals. So if I have to choose between purchasing Method or baking soda and vinegar, I choose the latter.  It costs more up front, but it will last me a heck of a lot longer.

Now I know what some of you thinking: “It’s too much work.”  Well maybe it is. Maybe it will take a bit more effort to measure out a cup of baking soda and vinegar to clean, versus just reaching in the cupboard for a pre-mixed bottle of skull & crossbones, and hey, that’s your choice.  Go for it!  Just make sure you wear gloves and a protective mask. Mmmmkay?

Lots of love,


© 2011 GiRRL_Earth

Next Post: Bottled water and bottle caps — guess what Eco-Friends, they’re not recyclable!

Sorry Method, but I am breaking up with you…

I love Method. I really do. I mean, who doesn’t. Method is eco-friendly and supposedly will not harm good ole Momma Earth. But not long ago, I paid $2.99 for a 28 oz bottle. Grrrrr.

And yet, on Sunday at Costco, I paid $3.99 for 1.32 gallons, did you catch that? I said, GALLONS of white vinegar that will probably last me until rapture.

Last night, after I used up the last of my lavender Method (sniff), I rinsed the bottle, and filled it with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. Going forward, this Repurposed, yep, you read it right REPURPOSED(one of my Rs in GiRRL)  plastic Method bottle has been reborn into nature’s best cleaning product. I slept soundly that night,  in the arms of Morpheus, knowing this solution will not hurt my Momma Earth. Now if that aint green then I don’t know what.

Full Disclosure: I cannot take credit for this. Credit is due to Broke-Ass Grouch’s blog as I nicked the idea from her. Not the repurposing of the Method bottle but the vinegar/water as a cleaning solution. Although BAG likes to add a bit of essential oils to her mixture so her house doesn’t “…smell like a salad.”  Next project: seek out essential oils so my house won’t smell like a salad either.

My next post: Baking Soda: A Thousand and One Uses…


© 2011 GiRRL_Earth