Cause Bracelet Keychain

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red, white & blue treat

It's always fun to bring a 'lil flare to your food when hosting or attending a party. What not a better way then to cut your fruit into fun shapes! Here's a cute idea that we did last 4th from fruit we got from the farmers market. Color Appropriate, obvs

We used strawberries with stems cut off, watermelon -cut into stars, and yummy blueberries! We paired it with a sweet treat of Devonshire cream (recipe to soon follow) with a touch of sprinkles for color. 

         Happy Independence Day! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whats in your toothpaste??

So we all know its important to brush your teeth and keep good oral hygiene, but is your toothpaste benefiting or hurting your overall health?

Have you ever looked at the label of your toothpaste?? I recently did and saw all the preservatives, artificial coloring and sweeteners and was not happy.

You would think that a toothpaste that is white shouldn't have any artificial coloring-but mine had yellow#10!! That's when I decided to make a change, especially after just reading about artificial dyes and the effect they have on kids including behavior problems and aggression.

Your gums have capillaries and are the quickest way of  absorbing things into your blood stream (even quicker then injecting), so why brush them with a product that contain harmful ingredients like:

sodium monofluorophosphate, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, fcd blue #1, and cd yellow #10. And these aren't even all of them!

I found some info on each of these products on a website called Alive-a complete source for natural health and wellness. These are the main ingredients that should be avoided.

Sodium monofluorophosphate, also known as fluoride, has a long list of possible health concerns. The chronic ingestion of fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis, a crippling bone disease in which the bones are severely weakened. Some researchers are even examining fluoride accumulation in osteoporosis sufferers to see if there is a possible link.
The potential risks associated with sodium monoflorophosphate are apparently so great that the US Food and Drug Administration requires the following warning be placed on products containing fluoride: “If more then the amount used for brushing is accidentally swallowed get medical help or contact poison control right away. Keep away from children under six years old.”

Sodium lauryl sulfate can accumulate in eye tissue and some believe it is linked to cataracts. It has also been found to accumulate in the brain and liver as well as other tissue.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that can exert estrogenic activity on breast cells and are believed to be linked to breast cancer.

Synthetic colours, like fcd blue #1 and cd yellow #10, may produce hyperactivity or worsen behavioural problems in children. Long-term use of some dyes is also believed to cause or aggravate allergies, asthma, hives, and thyroid tumours

There are products that provide ingredients that are safe:
  • calcium carbonate—a natural mineral used to gently clean teeth
  • baking soda—a gentle abrasive that leaves your teeth feeling smooth after you brush
  • silica—a mild abrasive that helps remove plaque
  • stevia—a natural herbal sweetener without the harmful effects of artificial alternatives
  • xylitol—an important ingredient because it is believed to reduce decay causing bacteria and enhances remineralization
  • tea tree and neen—both contain antibacterial properties which help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Try to avoid sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) and look for toothpaste with Xylitol instead of Sodium Fluoride.

Here are some recommended brands: Branch Basics with peppermint oil to taste, Tom’s Clear and Gentle, Jason’s Sea Fresh, Kiss My Face Berry Smart Kids, Tooth Soap.

I use Toms Simply white , that I can easily pick up at my local Walmart, CVS or RiteAid. Or Jason's Power Smile from my local health food store and Jasons Kids only toothpaste from babies r' us. For some other safe, non-toxic options you can order online at Mighty Nest . Some people are making their own so they know exactly whats going in it, but I haven't made it that far yet. I like to research things to the bone first :) So for now I'm sticking with the Tom's brand for my family and myself.


****extra 'lil treat-video on how to brush your teeth by Heather's son Matty:

 Happy brushing!!
<3 Brandi

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Ok, so if you haven't heard or tried BEE pollen then you need to read this!! I take it everyday and LOVE and swear by it.

            What is BEE pollen you may ask??
               It is a mixture of bee saliva, plant nectar, and (true) pollen.contains  minerals,
        carbohydrates, lipids, and protein, free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid.

         Isn't pollen the stuff in the air that makes
                  my eyes water and itch???
                    No!! it differs from wind-borne Pollens. One is essential in fertilization of plants and the other a heavier variety that makes you Sneeze!!!It has been effectively used through the ages to rid allergy sufferers of their afflictions. Start taking 6 weeks before the spring season starts and during to ward off symptoms.
Ever since I started taking it daily, I have noticed a change in the appearance of my skin as well as my energy level!! WHOOP WHOOP-mama always needs some extra energy to chase the kiddos around!

I buy mine at our local health food store that needs to be stored in the refrigerator and have seen it at Whole Foods as well. You can also get in in pill form, but I prefer it its its purest form of granules from my state of California. I put mine in a mason jar with old Parmesan lid so I can scoop or sprinkle into yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, salad.  Just don't add it to anything that requires heat. Heat destroys the active enzymes and reduces the nutrient value.
**I have found that the best and easiest way to take it is to pop a chocolate chip in my mouth, chew, then take the pollen straight up, chewing and adding a few more chips :) The pollen doesn't taste bad, its just a 'lil strong. At first it was a 'lil tough to get it down, but now I'm a champ  ;)


Do a test day first by putting one granule on your tongue to see if you have any negative reactions to it. People that are allergic to bee stings and have high allergens to pollen are more at risk of a reaction. 
If you are all good in the hood then start taking a few granules a day for a week and then increase your dosage to 1tsp  a day. Then eventually you can take up to a tablespoon a day. Increase slowly bc it could have an effect on your gastrointestinal tract. On day three and only day three, I did notice I had to use the "powder room" more often then any other regular day ;)

It is important to recognize that a one teaspoon dose of pollen takes one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather. Each bee pollen pellet contains over two million flower pollen grains and one teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. So RESPECT the bee!

It speeds of metabolic process and suppresses your appetite while eliminating cravings. The Lecithin in it helps dissolve and flush fat from the body.  That said, can be used for weight loss and/or management.

And what it does for the skin has been one of the major factors for me and its continual use. The nutrients of poly-vitamins, microelements, enzymes, hormones, and amino acids that are present in bee pollen give what is needed by the body to form new tissue. In return making your skin less wrinkly, acne free and more hydrated with the blood flowing through the skin.
Not only do I use it internally, but externally as well. Here is the mask I use:

Honey Bee Pollen Facial Mask

Have all the ingredients at Room Temperature.
Either in a jar, by hand or blend in a blender all ingredients. Blend Well.
Now clean your face and throat thoroughly. With fingers apply this mask.
Leave on for 20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.

I know, I know, sounds to god to be true! But that's why it has been called the "perfect or super food". Its actually the only "perfect food" that exist. It has all the essential nutrients that your body needs to survive and thrive. I say,  Do your research and learn all the awesome reasons to take bee pollen. I did and am thrilled with the results. There are so many other suggested capabilities of this natural super food and knowing them will only benefit you.

                     BUZZ BUZZ my friends
                 and let me know what you think!

Written and Tested  by Brandi~noted bee lover ;)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sweet Potato Chips Recipe

Ok so I looove sweet potatoes in pretty much any form. There is a local restaurant that makes sweet potato fries that I regularly order and cant get enough of. Not the best on the waist line, but uber delicioso. I often make my own at home that are baked, not fired and are much healthier. I recently came across a recipe for these sweet potatoes CHIPS that I tweaked and now am obsessed with. Nothing like a healthy chip, right? There is something magical about sweet potatoes and cinnamon together. Its like they should always be together, married or attached at the hip, best friends like Heather and I. Anyhoo, here's the recipe and I hope you and your family enjoys!

            This is what you need:

                                     ~ 2 Sweet potatoes                                                          
                                     ~  1 tbsp butter (or spray butter if want lighter)
                                     ~ 1/2 tsp salt
                                     ~1/2-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

 What to Do:
1-Preheat oven *375
2-Thinly slice the potatoes----I used my cheese slicer and it worked like a charm. If you have a mandolin, use it!! The thinner the better!
3-Melt butter in small bowl in microwave and add the rest of your ingredients. Stir, then add Sweet Potatoes
4- Spray cookie sheet and add coated potatoes, arranging them into a single layer.

Bake for 12mins, stir, then for another 12 mins or until corners curl up. Turn off oven and let sit.
Remove and Enjoy!

Written and taste approved by Brandi

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Staying Balanced as a MOM

If you are a stay at home mom (SAHM) or working mom, then its important to not loose yourself in the kid tide. Being a taxi for your 'lil ones and folding underwear is in the job description, but you need to find balance and not loose who you are as a WOMEN! Staying balance isn't the easiest thing to do, but its super important. Finding a hobby or something you can do just for yourself, once a day or week will help so you don't feel lost in the shuffle.

A happy mom is a happy home! Or is it....IF Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy? lol

I love being a SAHM, but it has taking time to find myself as a person and know when I need me time. I can now tell when I am feeling not balance and that's when I say hold up, wait, I need to get in check. You are not helping anyone around you if you are not balanced and all tense and about to LOOSE IT!!! When mom is unbalanced, stressed or burnt out, everyone suffers. Kids can feel tension from mom and tend to start acting out, so its a loose~loose situation.

If you take an hour or two just for YOU, for whatever makes you happy or relaxed, the rest of the day (or week) will be easier and more fun for everyone. Your husband and kids will enjoy having an energetic and refreshed mom to play with them and have a full filled day. Lets get down to it by saying, that by paying attention to your own needs as a MOM even if your a SAHM or working mom, you’ll actually be better at meeting everyone else’s needs.

 Here are some ideas to stay balanced:

1-Exercise!!!! Even if its only taking a walk, do it!!!! Clear your head!  It releases so much stress and tension. If you can do it alone, great, if you can head to the gym and be surrounded by others who are soaking in the exercise euphoria, great. Just find a way to do it. TRUST me on this one.

2- Spend time with other moms! Playdates are not just for the kids! Set up regular time to visit with other moms to just vent and chat. Its best to find other moms you actually LIKE hanging out with. Don't just set up playdates bc the kids are friends, set up playdates with YOUR friends! I think its funny when moms feel obligated to do playdates with a child's friend and you don't enjoy it as a parent. We have little time as it is, choose to surround yourself with people and other parents that you enjoy. Laughing and smiling is the best medicine! Funny friends make for a happy heart. Need some time to yourself, then do a trade with another parent! Even having an hour to yourself to go shopping, get a pedicure, massage, is just enough time to unwind and get your head straight. Lets be honest, going to the grocery store by yourself sometime feels like a mini vacay!


3-Meet with a girlfriend for coffee or tea. If you have to bring the kids, bring a bag with snacks and activities to keep them busy so you can chat with your gal pal. If you can get away and do it without the kids then all the better. Time without them to drink your coffee without having to make sure they are happy and not getting into stuff is nice to do too.
4- Fill the tub with warm water, turn some relaxing music on (literally-type in relaxation music on pandora! its great), bubbles, sea salt to relax those muscles and then...........this is key .......................................LOCK the DOOR!!!! Close your eyes and just take time to relax. Let hubby take care of the kids and just take time for yourself. Don't worry that they are probably making a mess, just clear your mind and breathe. Taking time to breathe really deeply in general will not only relax you but provides your body with extra O2 to energize you for the remainder of the day.


5- Lock yourself in your bathroom and give yourself a facial and do your nails! Do some SLOOOOW beauty~dry brush your skin, oil treatment for your hair, anything that keeps focus on yourself. Cleaning the tub does not count!
6- DON'T, I repeat, DONT skip on sleep!!! Not only is a tired mom a grumpy mom, but sleep deprivation releases cortisol into your bloodstream that makes you well, lets get real, FAT! And that will make you feel grumpy for sure, gaining weight or lugging around extra lbs. So instead of staying up late to try to be a super hero, pinteresting kinda mom, think again and go to BED!! Also, if your child is napping, take that time for yourself to unwind or curl up and nap with them. I know you probably feel that you get so much done when they are sleeping, but you know what? It will still be there tomorrow and the next day. Take that time for yourself, not to mop the floor.         

7-The one thing that I have been told by moms with grown children that sticks in my head is: don't worry about having a clean house all the time. Take that time to spend playing with your kids. Before you know it, they will be gone and your house will be sparkling clean. I'm not saying let it get gross and smelly, just don't put so much pressure on yourself to have a perfectly clean house. I mean really, you clean it and its messy 20 minutes later anyway.

Take time to play, because it sometimes gets skipped over after all the errands and taxing around. Play with your kids, your husband, your friends!


8- Meditate! Do it in the bath, yoga class, in bed at night, wherever you can. Stop and clear your mind of all that needs to be done. All distractions ignored and just close your eyes and breathe.

                                                Some advice on how to meditate.

9- You don't have to do it all, all the time. Your family is capable of doing things too! I know, its a shocker right? They might not do it exactly the way you would or want, but really, who cares? The kids can do the dishes, pick out their clothes and brush their teeth. They don't need mom for everything and the hovering as well as the need to feel needed isn't as important as raising self sufficient children and a balanced happy mom.

Are you saying to yourself right now,

"I ain't got time for that! who's got time for that? Aint nobody got time for dat!" (oh sweet brown-lol, got to love youtube)

Well, do you ever watch TV? One program is at least 30 minutes??? Ditch the fluff and do something for yourself instead. Ever since I turned my cable off, I get so much more done and more time to myself. For some reason and tips to get started check out our post Join the NO TV Movement. You don't have to turn your cable off, just choose NOT to turn it on, even if its background noise and see what HAPPENS......
I like to use music to set my mood and help with stress that may come my way. So~Turn on some music and DANCE!!! It really works and your kids, the dog, neighbors love to join in,  and your exercising too (*bonus, cha ching)! Music really helps to set any mood, and if I am at home, the music is on. So stop by for a dance party or relax session, it could be either at any time :)

 LIVE! Play! LOVE! That will keep you balanced, your family happy and a full filled life. You only get one, make it the best you can.

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Join the No TV Movement

What? Seriously? You may ask. Why would I want to do that, it entertains me and babysits my kids when I need 20 minutes to do the dishes!!!!
 Heather hasn't had cable for over 10 years and inspired me to do the same. For me it has been one of the best decisions I made for my family.  My hubby has been a 'lil sad without his ESPN, but he can still get all the info he needs through apps on his phone and Internet without spending all the time watching it on the TELLIE. I decided to turn off our cable bc I felt like it was becoming such a distraction to my kids. It got to a point that they would just automatically turn it on as soon as they walked into the door or woke up! I was at fault too. I would record all these shows then feel the pressure to keep up on them. That's when I said ENOUGH!

They recommend that you only watch 2 hours a day, but really 2 hours??? Think about what you and your family could do with that time?? I feel like people are really missing out on the finer things in life and filling it with TV time. I mean really, I don't think the TV is the devil or is going to ruin your life if you are watching it, but really, what else could you do or would do if its not on??
 Read a book? Play a board game with kiddos? Learn to play an instrument? Do crafts? Paint? Shoot hoops? Bike ride? PLAY? PLAY? PLAY??
The average American watches 81 hours of TV per month (under 3 hours a day), that's 972 hours per year!! =That's 40 days a year just watching TV! Say your kids start at age 2, by the time they are 80years old, they would have waisted almost 9 years of their life watching TV!! ek

Why not give it a shot??? Try it! Do a no TV week and see what happens? What could it hurt? Not like you aren't recording it all anyway!! ;) Teach your kids that there is better things to do with their time and their LIFE!

Not only does it save you time, but it also saves you  The Cheese, The dinero , PESOS, lets get it straight~ MONEY!!$$$$$!!! And really lets be honest, who doesn't like saving that! If Heather was paying just $50 for cable a month , for
10 years , that's  $6,000! And that's just basic cable, which we all know that is not what everyone has. 
The average price that is paid for cable is $75, if you invested that money each month (with inflation of cable prices), with lets say a return level of 4%, after 56 years you could of saved over 600k!!!!!No lie!! That's a lot of GREEN!
I have found that my kids play together more, read books, listen to music and together we are enjoying LIFE!

Here are some of Heathers tricks she uses to get her boys ELECTRONIC urges under control:


     Even without cable my boys would spend every spare moment on an electronic device
 if we let them. After many exhausting conversations with them about finding other things to do we decided to make a "NO ELECTRONICS" rule Monday thru Friday afternoon and it is working great!  My middle son has a very hard time concentrating and so far we have seen great improvements with him coming home and getting his work done. I also feel like I have my boys back during the week.  They are back to making forts, playing Lego's, drawing, playing games, and just hanging out together.  The house is messier, my boys are laughing more, and I am much happier not having to be on them about how long they have been plugged in. 

~I think the best thing to do is have set rules and stick to them. Working together with your husband or wife is VERY important because it shows the kids that you are on the same team.  Not on the same team against your children but working together for your children.

           ~Having three boys all different ages makes it a little harder to have the same set rules for all of them.  What might be good for my 5 year old isn't as great for my 12 year old and vice versa. Sometimes the younger ones will complain that its not fair, but I just try and remind them that they will be older one day also.

-One of the rules we have made for our 12 year old is that he is allowed to be on his ipod from 8-9 if all of his homework, reading and chores are done. The younger ones are in bed so we don't even have to mention it to them.  It has worked out great for me because if he is being mean to his brothers or not listening then I can take him aside and let him know that if it continues the hour will be taken away.  His attitude changes real fast.

~Sometimes we have to change it up, but as long as we establish a new rule and stick with it, then it works out fine. One we have added is they may have 1 Spongebob at bedtime. This was put in effect to keep me from going grey at the young age of 31.  For some reason my boys always get the wildest right at bedtime!  Instead of yelling at them or getting upset I give them 5 minutes to get jammies on and get into bed if they want to watch a show.  If they get out of bed after the show then they lose the show for the next night.  We still have a few nights of chaos but 90% of the time its easy sailing.

         ~My kids are not the only ones who have "NO ELECTRONICS" during the week.  My husband and I decided that we would stay off  when we are with the kids until they go to bed.  My husband compared it to being a drug addict going thru withdrawals.  It was hard at first but the rewards make it all worth it.  Soon the kids will be all moved out and we will have all the time in the world to play and watch mindless electronics.    
~My kids really enjoy watching movies, playing games and apps on their iPods, playing Xbox, watching funny YouTube videos and just about anything else that is electronic and now they can enjoy them without me nagging them to get off......... on the WEEKENDS!  We both win! ~

We here at Sparkly Polliwog want you and your families to spend as much time together as possible. You never know if you will have another day together, so why waste it watching TV!?  LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE <3
With love,
Heather & Brandi  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

McMomald's- Healthy Fast Food

Do your kids LOVE to eat out?  Do you love the quickness and ease of fast food, but don't go very often because of how unhealthy it is?  Do you skip the drive-thru because you and your family are vegetarians?
My answers are YES, YES, and YES!

I used to LOVE hearing my boys get so excited after telling them we were going out to eat. They would all load up in the car with their smiling faces and then fill their little bellies with greasy, delicious, processed, who-knows-what-is-in-there kind of food.  Then to top off the wonderful, "Let's not worry about our health night," they would all bring home every germ from the play area that you could think of.  Not only did we get to buy over-priced junk food with very little nutritional value, but we also got a trip to the doctor's office!  YAY!

Now that we are much more conscious of what we are eating, those days don't happen very often.  After hearing many "Can we please go out to eat mom?" from three boys (whom I have a hard time saying no to), I came up with a new idea......

How awesome is McMOMALD'S?!?!?

My boys asked, "What's for dinner?"  I replied, "McMomald's!"  They all looked at me like I was the weirdest mom in the world.  I just smiled because I knew they were going to LOVE my new fast food restaurant.

To make it fun, I took their dinner order ahead of time.

Do you want a 4 or 6 piece nugget meal?
I used meatless and soy- free Quorn nuggets.  They are made from fungi and oh so delicious!  Definitely the BEST vegetarian nuggets we have had.

What sauce would you like? 
I went to McDonald's and bought dipping sauce for the nuggets for $.25 each.  The first ingredient in the sweet and sour sauce is HFCS, so you might want to make your own.  If you have time, you could try making this recipe:

Do you want fries with that?
Organic, oven cooked, no salt, GMO free, yummy fries.

You don't have to choose between fries and apples at McMomald's! Organic, fresh, bag-free apples are mandatory with every meal.

Would you like milk, water, juice, or ginger ale? 
I found the cutest mini Hansen's Ginger Ale cans at Whole Foods!  I think the boys' favorite part of going out to eat is always the drinks!  These were very fun and the boys LOVED them. You can buy them online HERE for less than $.50 each! 

For here or to go? 
You could pack it in a bag with the McMomald's logo on the front, or serve it on a tray.  I don't remember where we got our trays, but I found some great ones on Amazon: Silver Tray, Green Tray, 6 Pack, 6 Compartment Tray

There are no cheap plastic toys at McMomald's, but every meal comes with a pack of Glee Gum!  My boys can NEVER get enough gum! Glee Gum has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners.  You can find it here online. 

They loved putting in their order and I LOVED how fun and easy dinner was!

When I was all done filling up the trays (no one wanted their meal "to go"), my middle son yelled out, "Can we have McMomald's EVERY night?"  We wont be having fast food every night, but I think this will be a fun weekly tradition for our family!

We also had a showing of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs at McMomald's tonight!
These are the little things the kids will remember forever. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Making your own Fish Crackers

Ok so lets talk about these lil fish shaped crackers. They are everywhere! Snack day, preschools, sporting events, bday parties! If there is an event with kids there, the go to snack choice to satisfy the masses is usually that lil salty, cheesy fish! I have to admit, they are pretty tasty and go well with coffee! Weird, I know, started when I was pregnant. Lol. Then I got smart and started reading labels! Understanding how bad processed foods are and that 75% of processed foods contain GMO's, I thought.....Lets just make those lil crackers ourselves ORGANIC and know whats in them! I found a genius mom on Smitten Kitchen who came up with a recipe to make her own! They only have 4-5 ingredients and are rather tasty!!!!


I didn't have a fish cracker cookie cutter, but you can order online or I heard of people making their own out of an aluminum can. I haven't gotten that far and that is why mine look like CHICKEN NUGGETS! Lol I was hesitant of sharing the picture bc of it!! HA HA Mine was a santa cutter, but apparently his head is the shape of processed chicken!

makes~ 100 1 1/2"
  • 6 oz (1 1/2 C Grated) sharp cheddar
  • 4 tbs butter cold, grated
  • 1/2 C whole wheat Flour
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder (optional)
Lets DO IT:
  1. Preheat Oven 350*. Combine all ingredients in food processor or by hand until dough forms into a ball.

2. If it feels too warm, put into fridge for half hour which will make it easier to transfer shapes to pan. On lightly floured surface and pin-Roll out the dough.

3. Form shape using cookie cutter and transfer on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
                               *see santa head shape? ;) lol

4. Bake ~12-15 minutes on middle rack or until barely brown around edges.

5. Remove and cool on rack.


Heathers batch-looks more like cheez its :)

                                        Then enjoy!!! Hope you like them! We sure do!

Happy Snacking my fishy friends!

Written by Brandi

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Thrift Store Shopping For A YEAR!

Trying to save the planet has put a huge damper on my wardrobe.


Before going "Green" I used to LOVE going shopping and getting new clothes! Now I can't pick something new off the rack without these thoughts running through my head:

- How many pesticides were sprayed to make this?  Did you know that cotton is considered the world's dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health

-  How much water did it take to make this?  Did you know that it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular ol' blue jeans?

-  Did kids and/or adults have to endure hours of work in a sweat shop to make this?  Did you know that according to laborrights.orgthe official inductees of the 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame were: Abercrombie and Fitch, Gymboree, Hanes, Ikea, Kohl’s, LL Bean, Pier 1 Imports, Propper International, and Walmart?


-  Were animals hurt to make this?  You might already know about the abuse animals have to go through to make fur and leather, but do you know about the animals who suffer so you can have wool, cashmere, angora, silk and down?  You can read about it hereGlobal Action Network

Let's just say that my shopping trips never end with me buying much.  Good for the earth, animals and my wallet, not so good for my wardrobe.  After years of empty shopping bags and a closet full of organic t-shirts from Whole Foods, I have decided to try something new.  

This year I am determined to look as good on the outside as I feel on the inside without buying any "NEW" clothes.  It's time for me to stop putting a label on what I think a "GREEN" person should look like

How am I going to dress up my life without buying any new clothes for a whole year?  

The thrift store!
Did you know:

The Salvation Army is a non-governmental relief agency and is usually among the first to arrive with help after natural or man-made disasters.

Goodwill's numbers for 2011:
  • People served through employment and training programs:  4.2 million
  • Mission services provided: 107 million
  • People who earned a job with Goodwill’s help :  189,000
  • Estimated total earnings of people who earned a job with Goodwill’s help: $2.95 billion
  • Personal and family support services provided: 10 million
  • Total revenue generated by Goodwill organizations: $4.43 billion
  • Total revenue spent directly on programs: 82 percent
  • Total number of donors (includes repeat donations): 79 million
  • Total number of retail stores: Over 2,650 and an online auction site, 
Retail sales for Goodwill in 2011: $2.59 billion!  That's a lot of money to help people in need!

-  The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Centers are 100% funded from the proceeds of the Family Stores, allowing them to be self-sustaining.

-  The Salvation Army is deeply committed to the modern-day fight against human trafficking (for sexual and labor purposes) and forms of commercial sexual exploitation innately linked to sexual trafficking.

The Salvation Army provides Group homes, emergency shelters, and transitional living centers for people in need.

-  The Salvation Army's red Kettle at Christmas brings in millions of dollars each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless.

 Go to their websites to read more about all the good they do:
Shopping at the Salvation Army or Goodwill helps a lot more than just the environment. After doing research on thrift store shopping, I was in total awe by the amount of people they help.  I love the idea of not buying anything new, giving to people in need, saving money and stocking up my wardrobe all at the same time!    

After telling my husband about my idea of not buying anything new for a year, the first thing he said was, "What about all the people that NEED the clothes?  Aren't you just taking from the poor?"  My response to that is.......... I have NEVER seen a thrift store that was out of clothes!  Usually the racks are so packed its hard to look at what is there.  I also always bring any clothes or furniture we don't want or need back to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  It's like I am paying to borrow it for awhile. :) 

You might be thinking, "Isn't shopping at the thrift store dirty?"

Do you remember the bed bug outbreak at Juicy, Hollister, Abercrombie, and Victoria's Secret?
Do you wash your new clothes when you get home?
I always come home from the thrift store and throw all the clothes into the washer and dryer before wearing them.  The dryer will kill any bedbugs or other living creatures that may be lurking in the clothes.  If the clothing item is dry clean only, you can get Dryel bags that can be put in the dryer before you wear them.

* There are a few items I won't be buying at the thrift store this year:  underwear, bra's, bathing suits, socks and shoes.

I hope this has inspired you to shop more, save more, give more, and WASTE LESS.  Don't be "green" for green for your kids, and their kids, and their kids, and their kids.  We only have one Earth, let's not wait for someone else to clean it up. 

My year of not buying any new clothes began on Feb. 14th, 2013.  I will keep you updated with my awesome finds!  Please join me in my year of shopping, giving, sharing, saving and loving. 

Alone we are weak, together we are strong!

Here are some pictures of Brandi rocking her awesome thrift store buys!


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