Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i heart organic dolls

i know what you're thinking, organic dolls? who needs that? i totally thought so until i saw my 6 week old eating her blanket doll. i mean she really had most of it in her mouth sucking away. poor thing, it had been a while since i had paid attention to her. must read my blogs, you know how that goes. but it got me thinking...what's in there? i think all these dolls are filled with 'poly fil'? what IS that stuff? it's like when you read the ingredients list to a milky way and you can't identify any of the ingredients as actual food.

anyways, you know me, i love a beautiful product, but when i find a beautiful product, that is organic AND has a great story, i feel like i won the lottery. and of course, i must share.

i saw this line at pod in brookline and totally fell in love. it's called noonoo design and they are based in england. this company is just about everything that i want toby + rei to be. in a nutshell, they make these amazing felted cotton 'comfort blankets' and 3d plush toys in alpaca wool or bamboo/organic cotton. the designs are so original and so kid-like and modern i can't stand it. their story is this, they were making these things basically in their garage and the demand was so high, they built a small factory in vietnam that they totally control. talk about fair trade, they hired an in house chef to prepare healthy lunches and the workers have a mandatory one hour lunch break to socialize. i love it.

see the bunny at the top of the post? i saw these cutie patootie dolls at nest by swanky maternity in portsmouth, nh and pure in newburyport, ma. the company is called miYim and they are dedicated to creating the most organic and safest dolls out there. they use only all natural dyes so each doll is a slightly different color.

i also found this doll on my of my favorite mom blogs cool mom picks. the company is called kaloo and the dolls are super super soft and cuddly and all organic. it comes in the cutest round hat box that is made of 100% recycled paper. it's pretty expensive for a doll, $50.00. but i'm tellin' ya, it's real soft, and safe - what's better than that?

look for an organic robot doll from toby + rei's spring 08 line. he's super cute and comes with a receiving blanket. he's under wraps for the moment...stay tuned!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

the straight poop

when i had my first babe 3 years ago, there were only a few earth friendly alternatives to disposable diapers.

a. the seventh generation chlorine free diaper- truth be told didn't strike me as all that earth friendly. i mean really they use a polymer to absorb and still have plastic components that will never recycle. and they are a lot more expensive.

b. cloth diapers - i will not even get into why that is not a good option for me (or anyone who actually leaves their house)

c. elimination communication - if you don't know what this is consider yourself lucky that you have never been cornered by some kooky cambridge mom who swears that her 4 month old looks at her a certain way and she gets the pot for her to "eliminate in". no, no, no, no not me. not ever.

ok so flash forward 3 years, pregnant with my second. i'm travelling across massachusetts pimping our wares to various cool organic retail stores and i started noticing the g-diaper. oh sure, there were other new options, rumpster + under the nile make cute cloth diaper covers. but under it all, it was still a cloth diaper.

the g-diaper was different. it was some sort of cloth diaper/disposable "hybrid"...the prius of diapers let's say. there was a cute outer part, some kind of reusable liner and FLUSHABLE inners?

"do they really work?" i endlessly harassed store owners. the answer was always yes, but what were they going to say really? no, of course they don't work, but they look really really cool. it's like when i was shopping for a new computer at the apple store and asked the salesperson (who was 12 maybe?) what the difference was between a mac and a pc and she looked at me and said "it's just cooler". i bought it of course, and she's right. it IS just cooler.

i had to know more. i checked out the g diaper site and watched the following video "watch them break down". no really, watch the video first. don't keep reading, none of the rest of this post will make sense. it takes 2 minutes really, i promise. i want you to be in the same state of mind i was after watching it.

ok, thank you for indulging me.

so, how crazy is that? a disposable diaper takes 500 YEARS to decompose. and americans throw 50 MILLION diapers in landfills every day. that makes me feel all yucky inside.

here is how they work:

"little g pants" - there is a super cute and cozy outer part that comes in a bunch of cool hipster colors like chocolate brown and modern orange and this pretty new lavender color. jasper HAS to have this one and soon! the outer part velcros in the back so that little curious hands can't pull them off. genius!

liners - each outer part comes with 2 snap in plastic liners. both the outer parts and the liners are totally machine washable. and the liners say that you aren't supposed to put them in the dryer and you all know that is so NOT how i roll. i am happy to report that they didn't melt.

flushables - this is where the magic happens. this part is totally flushable, you have to tear off the sides and use this swishy stick to swirl it in the toilet before you flush. or, you can throw it in your garden to compost in 50 days. this sounds like something i would WANT to do, but would never happen. a. my garden is non existent living in the city and b. it sounds like just too much work. so i flush 'em, or i throw them in the trash when i'm feeling lazy or they are just too messy to deal with.

i bought them and am happily using them and i have to say that we did have one spectacularly wet diaper once. i think i didn't have the flushable in correctly though. and you can't go more than a few hours without changing them. which you shouldn't anyways but i got so spoiled by the disposables. i swear you could go a week in the same diaper, WHAT is in those things to make them so absorbent. nothing good my friends, nothing good.

you can get the starter kits and refill packs at most whole foods. or they were just added to the diaper delivery service diapers.com. but, i like to support my locals so i get my supplies at bird by bird on cambridge street in inman square. those chicks are cool and not a huge conglomerate. if you know of any other local place carrying the refills, please post them here. happy flushing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

i hate non-fiction

so, just to be up front; i hate non fiction. i love all things fiction, sometimes classics, sometimes chick lit...you name it i've read it. unless, of course, it's you know, about REAL stuff. bo-ring. so when my friend renee recommended animal, vegetable, miracle by barbara kingsolver i was not overly keen. true, i did LOVE the poisonwood bible and prodigal summer. she is a fantastic FICTION writer. and anyways, hadn't i just slogged through the onmivores dilemma and was still feeling guilty every time i thought about pulling into wendy's for a spicy chicken sandwich? yes, fantastic book, yes, i totally get it, cafo's = bad, free range = good. did i really need to read another book?

so the story is this: barbara kingsolver and her family move to a farm in appalachia and eat only food that is in season and grown locally, the majority coming from their own farm. totally preachy, right? but i thought, ok babs, bring it on.

and guess what readers (reader?), i loved it. i am not kidding. the book is full of fascinating facts about heirloom fruits and vegetables, organic vs. local farming, locavores and how to store food for winter months so you don't get botulism. she makes her own cheese for crying out loud and somehow makes it seem cool and not something that just amish people do.

she includes all the recipes she has described in each chapter so you can make them yourself. it's inspired me to actually cook and to eat root vegetables. im telling you this book IS a miracle, because i'll tell you i've never even considered buying a turnip before. which turns out to be a lot like a carrot. and they're yummy. who knew?

pick up her book, or get it a the library. it's worth a read. you may be saying to yourself, what's this kooky book have to do with this eco friendly blog? and i say, what's greener than eating food that wasn't shipped from guatemala?

find local farmers markets

find local CSA's (community sponsored agriculture)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

guilt free greetings

you know when you buy cards and you think to yourself, wow, this is such a waste of paper. i'm killing a tree so that my friend jane knows i remembered her birthday (which i didn't and never do and then i have to buy her one of those "oops sorry i missed your birthday again cards". sorry jane.)

so the totally eco-friendly way to send a greeting card is to send an ecard, right? but that's so, well, impersonal i think. here is my solution, these lovely seed infused greeting cards at roundrobinpress

the paper is infused with herbs or wildflowers and letterpressed (oh so trendy these days) with some beautiful artwork. the paper can be planted in your backyard or even tossed into an area of the city you would like to beautify, and voila, flowers or herbs. we are looking into using this paper for our hangtags at toby + rei, wish us luck! you can buy these beautiful cards locally at greenward our fabulous and local greenie store. more about them later.

what's a blog?

ok, so a year ago i had to ask my husband (hereafter referred to only as "bob") "what's a blog"? and he looked at me, as only someone who has been married to me for 6 years and knowing just how clueless i really am can look and said (patiently as though speaking to a small child) "it's a web log, like an online journal." to which i said "who has time for that? to read AND to maintain. also, who cares what you ate for lunch?" ok, i stole that last bit, but i think it adds a little something and i always say never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

anyways, i digress.

oh yeah, blogs....it turns out that once you start reading blogs, it turns into a weird obsession. you find your favorites, you read them every day, you develop some weird relationship with the blogger and the next thing you know you are setting up a reader to consolidate your blog reading. its CRAZYTOWN and you are the mayor.

that being said, i have decided to start my own here at toby + rei dedicated to posting things i find in my travels in the eco-friendly realm. all who know me know that i love to talk about myself and think that everything i do is fantastic and everything that everyone else does is wrong (unless of course they do what i do, then its ok). so im the perfect blogger really.

i am constantly on-line researching environmentally friendly products and services. these i would like to pass along to you, my reader (ok, probably just bob and my friend dana who is as blog-obsessed as i am) so that you don't have to spend as much time on line as i do. because let's face it, you are busy with your job and family and who has time to be green anyways? my goal with this blog is to provide small tips on how to be more green and finding cool products all at the same time. i look forward to writing this blog and hope that you find it useful. or at least entertaining.