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by Lydia Krupinski
Do a search for eco resolutions and you’ll see a flurry of articles that will encourage you to use fabric shopping bags, change your light bulbs and skip bottled water. These are great tips for the entry-level eco-curious – but if we really want to push ourselves we should set the bar much higher. Isn’t that the point of resolutions in the first place? To challenge us to change behaviors and grow as individuals?

My mother had a brilliant insight several months back. When discussing sustainability movements and green trends she commented that, “What you are describing is how I lived as a kid.” And she’s right! Growing up in rural Poland my mother and her family rarely drove, grew their own food, mended clothes, and lived life simply, yet fully.

To make 2012 the year you make a real change – try to “Go Retro.” You’ll find yourself living a simpler lifestyle that will reduce your ecological footprint while adding a bit of vintage spice to your life.

Here are some potential “Go Retro” resolutions: Read the rest of this entry »

By Lydia Krupinski

If you’re anything like me you’ve procrastinated with writing your New Year’s Resolutions for 2011. Seeing that we’re still in the first few days of the year I think there is no shame in getting them in a tad late. Perhaps this can be a resolution in and of itself!

To help you come up with at least one eco-minded goal for the New Year we’ve compiled the following suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

 

posted by Lydia Krupinski

Photo from The Enchanted Spice

If you’re anything like my husband, you can’t wait to light up the grill and throw some edibles onto the grates. For vegetarians and vegans, Memorial Day can conjure up deeply repressed meat missing emotions – if not just for the sake of nostalgia. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide to a Meat-Free Memorial Day for veg-heads and carnivores alike!

Firing Up the Grill:

Skip the lighter fluid and opt instead for a starter cone or chimney starter. Not only will you protect yourself from harmful toxins, you’ll also lower your risk for petroleum related burns.

Photo from Martha Stewart

Throwing Down the Goods:

Start your grill off with some aromatic edibles that can be used on burgers and other entrees. Onions will add distinct flavor to the dish and will get your guest’s salivating whilegarlic will add a touch of zest to your salad. For something with a touch of whimsy, throw some pineapplespears, or nectarines straight onto your grill. Hit up one of Chicago’s plentiful farmer’s markets to stock up on these, and other fresh burger ingredients, likeheirloom tomatoesfresh sprouts, and artisan cheese. Here’s a market guide from the Sun Times.  You may also want to invest in some out-of-the-ordinary buns. Try asiago cheese rolls, pita, or even pretzel buns from Whole Foods. Read the rest of this entry »

by David Paul Downs

Earth Day raises awareness about the environment. It gives us all a chance to reflect on the damage we have already done, and encourages us to think of solutions to the scars.

In the third grade classroom at the school where I teach, Earth Day is popular though sometimes overshadowed by
“Swimming Pool Day”. The halls are filled with useful tips on how students can affect change. In this day and age, kids are used to recycling everything they can and some are even familiar with composting.

Despite this, when questioned on the idea of a “carbon-footprint” you will receive blank stares and shoulder shrugs. This is usually a term reserved for adults who think it wrong to hold their children responsible for their family’s mark on the planet. But when it comes to educating children to use natural resources responsibly, no age is too young!

As a simple introduction to conservation, my co-teacher came up with a great idea: ask the students to name something they did that day that was not Earth-friendly. Then each student was asked to come up with solutions to improve on their shortcomings. Here are some of their answers and really simple solutions: Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

With the unseasonably warm weather we are having it’s the perfect time to take a Sustainable Spring Break! What do we mean by sustainable? Low environmental impact. When planning any trip, near or far, it’s important to gauge your footprint. How far will you travel? Where will you stay? What businesses will you support?

These questions were on our minds as David and I planned a weekend getaway to our fair northern neighbor in Wisconsin: Milwaukee. We wanted to take a trip that would be easy on both the environment and our pockets. So if you’re hoping to get away for a few days, read on for our Milwaukee trip suggestions!

Travel

Amtrak: Traveling by Amtrak is a great alternative to driving as trains have a lighter carbon footprint and are relatively inexpensive. Trains leave from Union Station daily and the trip is quick – only an hour and a half!

Carpool: Believe it or not – you can hitch a ride to Milwaukee from Chi-town – and legally! Check out websites like eRideShare.com and catch a commuter heading North.

Bike: For the bicycling enthusiast you can take the eight hour ride North via the Lakefront, North Shore Channel, Robert McClorey, and Oakleaf trails. This is not for the faint of heart – so please research the ride before taking off. The Wisconsin Bicycle Routes website provides some great information on how to take the trails. And then there’s always the newly launched Google Bike Maps as an added resource.

Lodging

Couch Surfing: That’s right! There’s nothing more sustainable than crashing on someone’s couch! No daily cleaning, turn down services, and harsh chemicals. Check out couchsurfing.org for trustworthy hosts and more!

Eco Hotels: Are you too high maintenance for surfing? Then consider a green alternative – Hotel Metro. Milwaukee’s first eco-certified hotel boasts local foods, eco-friendly appliances, complimentary bicycle rentals, and a bio-diesel powered cab. Sound swanky? It is – and the rates show it!

Attractions

Milwaukee Art Museum: This museum stole our breath away! They have an absolutely incredible collection, beautiful architecture, and an eco-friendly cafe too! 700 Art Museum Drive

Future Green: The destination for sustainable housewares, fair-trade accessories, and organic body care. They even sell solar panels! 2352 S. Kinnickinnic

Sparrow Collective: Adorable handmade clothing, jewelry, and accessories! 2224 S. Kinnickinnic

Tip Top Atomic Shop: Affordable and fun vintage clothing store. 2343 S. Kinnickinnic

Milwaukee Public Market: One of my favorites! This incredible market boasts local foods and dining accommodations with a rustic charm! 400 North Water Street

Yellow Jacket Vintage: A Chicago transplant, this boutique has some incredible vintage finds. 1237 E. Brady

Project M Boutique: This newly opened handmade fashion boutique has indie designers, charm and affordable prices. 801 E Center Street

Riverwest Co-Op and Grocery Fresh locally grown foods and a scrumptious lunch cafe. 733 E Clarke Street

Chartreuse: Minimalist and modern eco clothing boutique. 1224 East Brady Stree

Is there something missing from our list? Tell us by leaving a comment!

To celebrate the people and places that make Chicago green, Mindful Metropolis is accepting nominations for its “Best of Mindful Chicago” list. Visit their site to cast your ballot for your favorite green destinations: from restaurants and boutiques, to blogs and bookstores.

“Nominate people, businesses, organizations and communities that deserve recognition for the way they incorporate mindful practices. These practices may include any or all of the following: use of green products, use of sustainable materials, recycling initiatives, holistic healing, fostering of community, kindness and compassion. These businesses and organizations make a difference in the lives of their clients, patrons and community by making sure every facet is mindful.” Mindful Metropolis

By Irena Djuric

Is it possible to suffer from aphrodisiac overload?

Tonight, nothing – not even the raging snowstorm outside – could stop the lovers who trudged to Wicker Park’s Greenheart Shop to find out.

The “Cooking for Love” workshop, hosted by Alee Hoffman and Erin Dunscomb of Dynamic Duo Wellness, revealed the love-boosting properties of foods ranging from cacao to cayenne, avocados to pumpkin seeds. (Note: pumpkin seeds, according to the pair, are nature’s “sexiest seeds.”)

They laced a two-hour cooking session with the science and lore behind top aphrodisiacs, chattering pleasantly with the audience and whipping up two delicious cocktail-worthy recipes sure to get your sweetheart’s blood pumping. Read the rest of this entry »

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