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In commemoration of Earth Day this Friday, Lowes, the home improvement giant, is handing out 1 million trees for customers to snatch and plant all over the country.

My sincerest hope is that this green-thumbed event will encourage carpenters and DIYers to  investigate the source of their lumber and materials and to also consider the impact they may have on the environment.

I would also encourage Lowes to take an additional step in the right direction and look at their suppliers – then we’d have something to really celebrate. But until then it’s important to acknowledge this altruistic attempt to positively impact our environment.

Show your support and swing by a local Lowes store this Saturday, April 23rd to receive a free sapling to plant in your community. The more trees the merrier we’ll all be!

Tis the season to start planning your 2011 edible gardens. City dwellers must overcome the myth and fear that growing veggies is only for those with a stiff mortgage and plenty of land mass. Those of us who live in apartments and high rises can overcome this obstacle by employing some creative solutions:

Urbio Vertical Garden: This up-and-coming design team is currently collecting funds via Kickstarter to turn their urban jungle ideas into reality. Their concept of magnetic and adjustable plastic planters is brilliant, modern, and functional.  Let Urbio be your inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »


By Lydia Krupinski

Fall is here and with it dipping temperatures that make my already dry as a bone skin suffer with dehydration. Having worked in the cosmetic industry in the not-so-distant past I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs with skin care products. There was the heavenly but expensive creams by LUSH, the wha-wha inefficacy of La Mer, my biannual addiction to Philosophy, and the remaining smattering of products which included Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Hauschka and more.

Since I am fearless when it comes to trying new products I’ve decided to go on a hunt for an eco and health friendly affordable moisturizer that will hydrate me through the fall and winter and last until the end of spring. Criteria that I have in place: It must be a cream. Nearing 30 I’ve tried and tested lotions and they just don’t cut it with my psoriasis eczema prone skin. I want something rich – not quite like butter but not as thin as yogurt. The other consideration is smell. I can’t stand any over-fragranced body care – no matter how organic – if it smells like roses you can bet I’ll be chucking it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Lydia Krupinski

If you’re anything like me you’re itching for rays of sun, sprouting plants, and the premise of warmer weather. As I sit in my cozy Northside apartment I can’t help but forage through websites and magazines that celebrate the just-around-the-bend glow of the vernal equinox. As can be told by my latest posts, I am developing quite a fondness for all things spring, urban and food-related. So when Jessa Brinkmeyer of Pivot sent me a link to the upcoming Family Farmed Food Expo I gasped with delight.

Filled with celebrity chefs, locavores, authors, activists, farmers, and other conscious consumers, the Expo will be showcasing the very best of our areas agriculture. Attend workshops discussing everything from growing container gardens to raising chickens while visiting with other Chicagoland foodies and businesses.

What: Family Farmed Food Expo Local Food Festival

When: Saturday, March 13th, 2010 10am-6pm

Where: UIC Forum University of Chicago

Cost: $15 Prepaid $20 At Door

To learn more about the Expo and see a list of speakers visit their website here.

by Lydia Krupinski

I have finally gotten around to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I’m just about half-way through and already have been deeply moved by this piece. I’ve been through all of Michael Pollan’s books and read “Fast Food Nation” when it first hit the shelves, but there’s something unique about “Animal…,” something beyond description. As I pour through the pages I am left feeling inspired and empowered…knowing that I too can support local agriculture and grow my own food.

On this note I can’t tell you how eager I am to finish the book and even more eager to start my 2010 urban garden.  In anticipation of the coming Spring I have started a list of last year’s successful crops, new planting endeavors, and a wishlist for our urban farming future. In 2009 David and I successfully grew basil, green onions, chives, mint, chamomile, lettuce, and parsley. This year we’re setting our sights on spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes, beans, and broccoli. A mighty list indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview and Photographs by Lydia Krupinski

I am on a mission. On a quest to find natural and locally made products for the day to day requirements of life. I’ve learned how to make my own deodorant, grown veggies, and have cleaned with vinegar. But there’s one task too daunting for DIY: soap making. There’s a fine art and science to the creation of this daily necessity that I dare not discover on my own.

That’s why I am delighted to bring you an interview with a local soap master who’s creations have stolen the hearts of many Chicagoans, including my husband. David Melis, of Edgewater Soaps, has been making delicious batches of  suds since 2002. From lavender oatmilk and rosemary lemon soaps, to avocado facial bars and coconut neem oil dog shampoo, David’s creations span a wide range of scents and needs. Read on to learn about his dedication to natural ingredients and passion for his work. Read the rest of this entry »

Lydia Krupinski

womancraftIt truly moves me to see how many people, groups, and organizations are out there making a difference in our community. I admit that at times I even feel overwhelmed at the thought. How can I keep up with all of them while also participating in their causes?

Well here’s one way we can all help. WomanCraft, an offshoot from the Heartland Alliance, is hosting a fundraiser to benefit their amazing cause. WomanCraft helps displaced and abused women get back on their feet by providing them with transitional paid work. They employ these women to create handmade recycled paper goods that are then sold at various events and markets. And if that’s not incredible enough, the work they’re doing has been recognized with a GreenWorks Award by mayor Daley and his eco squad.

Show your support of this amazing organization by attending their fundraiser.  And be sure to  keep your eyes peeled for their auction which will feature local indie goods, including a treat from Pierogi Picnic.

What: WomanCraft  Harvest Benefit

When: Thursday October 8th, 2009 5:30-8pm

Where: DIRRT Enviro Solutions Penthouse

325 N. Wells Street, 10th Floor

Visit WomanCraft’s website to learn more about the organization and how you can become involved!


Pierogi Picnic

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