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Earth Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

April 22, 2014

Mickey Minnie DAKThis is not a glowing post. I wanted it to be. Really. I never get to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Earth Day, but this year I made it happen.

I really should have spent my time somewhere else.

Let’s put things in perspective. Not only is April 22 Earth Day, but it’s also the birthday of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which turns 16 years old today.

In the park that hopes to make Every Day Earth Day, you’d expect something special to be going on – especially when it’s the park’s birthday. But no.

No mentions of Earth Day on the official Walt Disney World Twitter feed or on the blog. Instead, it’s all about the upcoming Seven Dwarves Mine Train and the 50th anniversary of Carousel of Progress. What about the 16th anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom??

I’m just going to go ahead and assume that the park doesn’t do anything because they want the environmental message to be strong all year, but come on, folks! Even big name brands that spread the eco-friendly living message blatantly ever day have enough sense to do something a little extra special on the one day of the entire year that’s devoted to environmental awareness.

DAK

Honestly, I think they dropped the ball. It’s pitiful. There were no signs, no placards when you walk in. Keep in mind, there are FASTPASS+ signs everywhere, so it’s not like they can’t put together a sign with a cute graphic saying “Happy Earth Day!” with Mickey Mouse. At the main entrance, there was a table with some info on creating wildlife habitats. Then you were redirected to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a land within Disney’s Animal Kingdom where – supposedly – all of the events of the day were taking place.

table

So I went to Rafiki’s Planet Watch for the Party for the Planet, and what I found wasn’t that drastically different than what you’d find any other day. There were “Earth Day” caricatures and face painting. Hey, Disney, isn’t this what you have every day of the week!?! It’s just moved indoors instead of outside.

caricatures

There were exhibits set up, but a majority of them are what you’d find every day, anyway. Sure, there was a Disneynature Bears exhibit set up. Shocking, since by promoting the movie, they hope to make a huge profit. You could get a free button to promote the movie on behalf of Disney and, as a cast member told me, “Of course you can buy a stuffed bear in the gift shop!”

Bears

Disney Bears Pins

There was a table set up where you could address a postcard writing about your eco-friendly promises in your life and have it mailed to someone. Disney will pay the postage to mail it. Really??? This is the eco-friendly thing you choose to do – pay a fortune to mail thousands of postcards? Couldn’t the money – and effort behind it – be better well spent?

Earth Day postcards

To be fair, there was a green grocery shopping game set up – Wow. And I did hear transportation cast members talking about getting cake in the break room.

shopping

shopping 2

On the blog, it was said that there would be special Earth Day merchandise available. I looked EVERYWHERE for something – a pin, a t-shirt, something! – and never found anything. I asked a cast member on the way out of Disney’s Animal Kingdom where the merchandise was. He said they hadn’t received anything yet. It was 12:30 p.m. already.

Perhaps they meant the 3-4 specialty ‘outside’ vendors set up (at least two of them can be found at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival, by the way).

merchants

In years past, you could at least find organic Disney plush toys and organic Disney shirts. No evidence of that this year, anymore. Must not be a high seller.

Jiminy CricketEarth Day celebrations at Walt Disney World suck. Clearly said. For a company that prides itself on Environmentality (their word, not mine), there was no evidence of that today – oh, except for Jiminy Cricket posing for pictures outside.

Jiminy Cricket is the mascot for Disney’s Environmentality Campaign. Not that he had any environmental message with him in the character meet and greet, but it was cool to see this rarely-seen Disney character just the same.

If you care about celebrating the environment on Earth Day and want to do something special in the Orlando area, I’d suggest going to SeaWorld – or anywhere else – instead!

Have you been to Earth Day celebrations at Disney before? What did you think??

 

 

 

 

 

World’s Smallest Eco-Friendly Cafe – You Can Own One Too!

April 21, 2014

Looking for a great, eco-friendly business idea? The folks behind Wheely’s Café have something that might be right for you!

Calling itself the world’s smallest café, this food cart on wheels is transported via bicycle. That’s right, the bicycle is built into the food cart. The franchise allows eco-friendly entrepreneurs to hop onboard in the early stages of development and score a serious deal on these mobile cafes that serve up coffee, tea, drinks and pastries. The solar-powered, negative carbon footprint designs are perfect for anyone caring about doing business in a green and sustainable way.

The Swedish design brings snacks and drinks to the masses, wherever you choose to park your bike, and estimates that between $150-300 can be made per day (based on examples in Sweden). The profit is up to you, though, as to where you park yourself and for how long.

The Wheely’s Café is currently being funded through an Indiegogo project. Join in before June 8, 2014 and you can nab a Wheely’s Café franchise all your own for just $1,800 – a 40% discount. At a cost of $3,000 after the crowdfunding project, this is still an affordable franchise to be a part of if you’re looking for an eco-friendly business to run on your own terms.

Plastic Purge Offer Tips On Avoiding Plastics

April 19, 2014

In a brand new book, you can learn why it’s necessary to purge plastic from your life – not only for the health of the planet, but for your health, as well. Plastic Purge highlights the most important things you need to know on why plastic isn’t always good (it’s not always bad, either) and simple ways to choose plastic-free items.

In 200 pages, Michael SanClements manages to cover the history of plastics, the degradation of the planet due to plastics, and how to keep them from harming your health. It’s done in a light hearted and super easy to understand way, so that anyone new to wondering how to possibly reduce their plastic consumption can quickly and easily discover the ins and outs of such an overwhelming topic.

Inspired by a Grist.com article that SanClements wrote, in which he tried to avoid plastics for 2 weeks, Plastic Purge takes a bit more of a lengthy approach as to how and why plastics are bad for our health. The first 100 pages are a glimpse into the history of plastics - how they were invented, why and how they’re made. It’s not boring (it could be), and there’s even some real-life drama in there, such as a chapter on Tupperware and how the owner of the company unceremoniously and cruelly ditched the woman who single handedly made him a millionaire.

Plastics were never happily embraced when they were first introduced, but mega-million dollar ad campaigns pushed them into American’s lives – and pocketbooks – and now we have a country obsessed with throw-away plastic items in all shapes and forms.

The second half of the book is the most important, to me. It actually has real life examples and products that will help you ditch the plastics that often come with health risks and choose healthier and more eco-friendly choices instead. I’ve written about all of these health-related ideas in my own book, The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home, so it is definitely good to see this information in a book solely focused on plastic consumption because it is vitally important to get this stuff out of your house and out of your lives!

I am seriously impressed that SanClements repeatedly makes the point that BPA-free plastics DO NOT equal no worries with plastic. As he points out, the alternatives to BPA could be even worse than BPA itself. He also shares the knowledge that BPA on store receipts is in far higher quantities than you could ever expect in your food – 250 to 1,000 times higher. That’s scary and that’s info you need to know!

If you’re concerned about plastics, either for the health of our planet or your own family’s health, this is a great primer to read to get an idea of what to do and easy ways to do it.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Review

April 18, 2014

Organic Matcha BagI have been scared of matcha for a very long time. Seriously. There’s just something about this super strength green tea powder that made me think that it would taste horrible and have be bouncing off the walls for days on end. Then Kiss Me Organics contacted me about trying some of their organic matcha powder. I agreed. I don’t know why.

I’m so glad that I did!

Perhaps it was the claims of better skin, increased fat burning, all day energy, and massive amounts of antioxidants without all the pills. I need all these things. Now.

So I started scrolling through the fabulous e-book of matcha recipes that Kiss Me Organics provides with your order. There are over 50 recipes in this easy to read book – and they all sound good! I was kind of surprised, actually. I expected weird recipes without much taste, but the cookbook offers brownie recipes, cocktail recipes using Kahlua or champagne, main meals, smoothies and more.

Why would I even want to make a recipe with matcha? There are SO many health benefits that could possibly be found in this powder made from ground green tea leaves. Matcha is made from tea leaves grown in the shade, so they have a darker green color, which imparts more antioxidants. While matcha is made from green tea leaves, don’t compare it to just a cup of green tea. This is different - and much more powerful!

Matcha with Blender

According to Kiss Me Organics, one glass of matcha is equal to 10 glasses of green tea. And matcha has 137 times more EGCG, the antioxidant that helps with short and long term memory. I can’t be the only person who needs help there, can I?!

Even better, matcha offers up to four times more fat burning power to your diet. That’s a huge increase in fat burning!

So, in addition to calming you down while giving you sustained natural energy, matcha has a lot of other positive, proven health benefits going for it. Which is why I decided to make myself a matcha cocktail and put it to the test.

Matcha Orange CocktailI tried the Matcha Orange Cocktail, one of the first recipes in the book. Ingredients were simple – just matcha, sugar, water and orange juice.

Mixing up the cocktail, the green color of the matcha put me a little ill at ease, since they color is not often associated with pleasant tastes. But I forged ahead. Super easy to make, I was soon hesitantly sipping the green and orange drink.

I was surprised, though, that the drink was actually quite good!  No terrible earthy tastes to have to deal with just for the sake of nutrition. It was good – and I can imagine the other recipes will be good, too.

Now, keep in mind, there was plenty of sugar from the orange juice and table sugar to balance the taste of the matcha, but you can adjust to whatever suits your mood or needs.

How did I feel? I did feel more energized and more focused. Can’t speak to weight loss or sustained energy and better skin as of yet, but the thought of just 1/2 tsp. of a not-so-bad-tasting powder that can be added to just about anything I make for better health is a good thing!

Have you tried matcha? What did you think??

 

 

Win Weleda Products With Kabinet

April 17, 2014

weleda_twitter

I recently wrote about the chance to look inside my medicine cabinet through the new website, Kabinet.

Well, if that wasn’t a good enough reason to check out the new website, this is. You can win a FREE Weleda product just by adding it to your wishlist.

That’s right. Just visit the site. Click on the heart which “wishlists” what you’d like to try from Weleda, and sign up for a free account while you’re there. A total of 35 products will be given away by April 28, and you could be one of the winners!

I’ve written about Weleda many times before, and really like their products! In fact, their lotion is currently in my medicine cabinet – which you can find on Kabinet.com.

 

Jezebel Decadent Artisan Soaps – Natural and Sassy!

April 16, 2014

SoapsWith a name like Jezebel, you expect some sort of sassiness. Looking at the half-clothed women decorating the artisan body care products, you’ll soon realize that’s just what you get!

Jezebel Soaps is a young and fresh take on creating all natural soaps and body care products that are good for you. Turning its back on the traditional leaf and flower prints of most made-from-nature products, Jezebel Soaps harkens back to the days of burlesque and dares to create packaging with images of seriously sexy women.

As Kara Muller, founder of Jezebel Soaps, said, “My burlesque, risqué packaging is much more than a fun marketing ploy – it reflects my attitude towards my products. I truly believe that handcrafted soaps made from simple, old-fashioned ingredients make sexy and luxurious skin care products.” Indeed.

Body Butter

The body care line, which is just celebrating its first anniversary, takes tried-and-true formulas that have stood the test of time and aims to add a little pizzazz to make them more modern, with the addition of fragrances and specialty ingredients. Castile soaps get a little extra oomph with white clay. Buttermilk bath soaps have sea salt added.

Floozy Bath SoakJezebel’s product line includes soaps, massage oils, buttermilk bath soak, and body butter.  The products come in a variety of fragrances, all made with completely natural oils. Each fragrance is associated with a racy name, including:

Floozy – orange, vanilla and cedar

Harlot – a floral bouquet

Hussy – cedarwood, fir and grapefruit

Strumpet – citrus

Tart – lavender, orange and patchouli

Trollop – Ylang Ylang, patchouli, geranium and sweet orange

I was sent a selection of Jezebel body care products to try. The scents of each product are strong and intoxicating – definitely a bold fragrance that pairs equally well with each name! :) What I liked most was the fact that the ingredient list was small and easy to understand. Everything in these products is simple and natural. The packaging might get your attention first, but the commitment to pure products is likely what you’ll remember.

Products from Jezebel Soaps do NOT contain synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, preservatives, colorants, or palm oils. The products’ sassy packaging is plastic-free and wrapped in recyclable wrappers and containers.

Soap Ingredients

New apothecary soaps – which treat problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis – might not have the burlesque packaging, but are made with all natural ingredients nonetheless.

Hussy Massage oil

This Canadian line of all natural soaps is a great addition to your own stash of personal care products, but keep in mind that it’s definitely a conversation piece for a gift for a friend!  Think about bridal showers, Valentine’s Day, engagement parties and birthdays. Your friends will be amused, but then thank you for the all natural find!

Save Big on Organics With Bagged Produce

April 15, 2014

Bagged LemonsOrganic fruits and vegetables can be pricey. I am not arguing that. If you find ways to minimize those costs, though, you can score healthy-for-you produce at a fraction of the cost of what you think you might have to spend.

For instance, I’m a big believer in having half of a lemon in a glass of water each morning. It clears out toxins, speeds metabolism, and even my aesthetician just recommended that I do it for clear skin. Lemons are expensive, though. I’ve tried growing them, but a cold snap took out the tree. So it’s off to the supermarket to buy them – at a considerable cost.

Just this week, lemons were on my grocery list. At Whole Foods in Orlando, individual lemons were .69 cents each. That’s .35 cents a morning just for a water additive, but it is improving my health. The cost just didn’t sit right with me, though, especially when I bypassed lemons at Publix, too, because they were 3 for $1.99 – and they weren’t organic.

I was thrilled to see a display at Whole Foods for bagged lemons. I got 10 lemons (a 2 lb. bag) for just $3.99! That’s .39 cents each – a savings of .30 for each lemon. Even better, these are organic lemons, grown by Tomorrow’s Organics and Made in the U.S.A.!

Bagged AvocadoesI was also considering some avocados, too. At 2 for $4 for conventionally grown avocados, and 2 for $5 for organic ones, the price was just a little too steep. I found a bag of organic avocados, though, that brought the price down into doable terrain. Four avocados grown organically in Mexico were $5.99. Still a little steep, but at a cost savings of $1 per organic avocado.

These prices were in effect April 2014 at Whole Foods, Turkey Lake, in Orlando, Florida.