Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stupidity does not define me, but at times I think it must

Formaldehyde in clothing. I know it's there. It's commonly used to treat clothing before shipping from China and other overseas locations. That's why it's vital, as in super important, that we wash new clothing before we wear it or put in onto our precious little ones' bodies. 

I know all that. But, like I said above, stupidity does not define, but at times I think it must. Yesterday was one of those times.



I discovered a new resale shop on Saturday and was happy to pick up a couple of pieces of Stella & Dot jewelry, a super-comfy cable knit sweater, and a brand new with tags pair of Ann Taylor Loft black skinny jeans that fit perfectly (and cost a mere $8!).

Normally, I have to wash secondhand clothing two or three times before I wear it because of the buildup of toxic fabric softener. I'm simply not going to wear anything that reeks of that combination of toxic chemicals and causes all sorts of respiratory, skin, and neurological issues (just to name a few). I just won't do it.

But yesterday, while choosing an outfit for work, I picked up the brand new pair of pants, cut the tags off, and slipped them on. After all, there was zero fabric softener smell because they'd never been washed. Big mistake. 

As I worked, these black skinny jeans hugged and caressed by legs all day long. By late afternoon, I was really dragging. By evening, I could hardly walk. Now, this was disturbing because, for the first time in countless months, I've been pain-free for weeks. I attribute this to cutting nightshade vegetables out of my diet. The result has been a serious reduction of inflammation and a disappearance of my fibromyalgia symptoms. Of course, this is a topic for a different blog post, as it indicates some intelligence on my part, and not the stupidity this post focuses on.

I dragged myself upstairs as soon as I got home and I laid down. An hour and a half later, my husband woke me to see if I was okay. I was not. My glands and lymph nodes were swollen and my limbs all ached. Plus I had a headache. 

An hour or two later, it dawned on me. My Epstein Barr and my fibro were acting up and I knew exactly why. Formaldehyde. It transferred from my new pants onto my skin where it was absorbed into my system. It was poisoning me. I removed the pants and threw them into the hamper.

There are many things that can trigger my fibro. Obvious things like stress, illness, loud noise, or aspartame. But nothing affects me as much as exposure to chemicals, with formaldehyde at the top of the list. I learned that way back in the mid-'80s when a wise doctor figured it out. 

You would think I would have known better than to wear an unwashed pair of tight-fitting pants. I doubt I'll ever make that mistake again! After all, stupidity does not define me... most of the time.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

National Grandparent's Day is Sept. 10!



Don't forget Grandma and Grandpa this Sunday. Honor them for all they've done for you and your kiddos.

GrandBox is a monthly subscription box curated specifically for seniors 65 and up. Each box can be personalized with family photos and a note. It's the perfect gift to bring a smile to your loved ones. Order yours today by clicking here. And just ignore the typo in the word "September"!

Friday, September 1, 2017

5 instances where vinegar is NOT the answer

TGIVF!

It's the first Vinegar Friday of September... how did that happen? Wasn't it just June??

Kids are back to school and the stores are full of fall and Halloween decor. Many have replaced their patio furniture with brightly lit Christmas trees. #notreadyforthisyet

While Halloween is a fun time for many, it is also a time for mischief for some. Tossing eggs at cars and homes is their definition of fun. I'll never get it. Do you?

Photo courtesy of Circe Denyer

So with egg-throwing season right around the corner, I thought I'd start off the unofficial first VF of the fall (it is still summer for a few weeks, after all) by sharing 5 ways vinegar is not a good choice for cleaning, starting with...

1. Eggs
If you're like me, your first thought when you discover an egg-drenched car or front door (after some choice words/mental images) is to reach for your jug of vinegar. STOP! Unless you want an even stickier, gooier, more difficult to clean mess, you want to skip that choice. When vinegar mixes with proteins, like eggs, it coagulates and creates stuff nightmares are made of. Ooooo.... scary. How appropriate for Halloween!

2. Pots and Pans (of the aluminum or cast iron persuation)
When scrubbing your enamel or stainless cookware, vinegar is just fine. But doing the same to your aluminum or cast iron pans is not. Why? Because mixing acidic vinegar with aluminum or cast iron will cause corrosion and damage the surface of your cookware. Of course, many people are avoiding aluminum these days, due to the possible link to Alzheimer's disease, but it seems that cast iron has never been so popular. I love mine -- what about you?

Image courtesy of Alex Borland

3. Natural Stone Tiles and Countertops
We don't have stone countertops or floors in my home, so wiping down the floors and counters can be done safely with plain white vinegar. That's not the case in my daughters' homes, although they generally rely on Norwex Envirocloths to do the job. If you have concrete, limestone, travertine, granite, or marble surfaces, do not use vinegar on them, unless, of course, you actually like pitting. Keep in mind, vinegar will eat away any sealants, so be prepared for staining down the road. 

4. Waxed surfaces
If your goal is to remove wax, by all means, reach for the vinegar. But if you want to preserve your shiny waxed surface, avoid vinegar at all costs. Otherwise, you'll end up with a sheen that is as dull as unsharpened eyeliner pencil. 

Photo courtesy of CC0 Community
5. Phone or laptop screen
The monitors and screens on our electronic devices are covered with a thin layer of oleophobic coating. This limits the amount of fingerprints/smudges smearing up the screens. We like that, no? If you wipe the screens with vinegar, you pretty much destroy this coating and you're left with... well, let's just say you'll wish you hadn't.


While I tout the benefits of vinegar here and in my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS, there are times when vinegar is the last thing you want to use. Hopefully, this post will save you some headaches. Now if only I could create an invisible shield to protect you from those flying eggs.

Keeping it green with vinegar, but not always,



Thursday, August 24, 2017

A bat in the house!

What happens when you walk into your house and discover a bat hanging in your kitchen? 



My husband and I returned home on Monday from a 5-day getaway to our favorite little cottage. The Willow House Cottage Suite is located in Latrobe and is the perfect spot to unwind. It took me a couple of days to shed work responsibilities and finally relax, but once I did, it was delightful. I really hated leaving and coming back home.



The cats were happy to see us as we arrived. After some serious kitty time, we started unloading the car. I was heading into the kitchen to start unpacking the cooler and stopped when I saw my husband frozen in place, staring at something.

"What is that?" He pointed to the black curtain at the top of the basement steps. 

"It's a bat," I said. 

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Bill. It's a bat."

The brown critter was hanging upside down on the curtain. 

"What are we going to do?" His voice trembled... just a bit.

I assured him, "I'll take care of it." And I did.

A few years ago, we discovered a bat flying around our basement. It was a cold February day. I have no idea what it was doing there or for how long. Fortunately, it landed above a door in the basement, allowing me to capture it fairly easily. I told my husband to go upstairs and bring me a flat cookie sheet. He obeyed. I think he was just relieved that I was willing to tackle the problem.

Holding a clear plastic container in one hand, I carefully slipped the cookie sheet behind the bat and covered it with the container. Captured! I carried the intruder outside and released it, much to its chagrin. The bat spread its wings in the yard near the melting snow and hissed at me. The sun was blindingly bright against the white canvas. After a few minutes, the bat took flight and disappeared. 



On Monday night, I used the same technique, although this time I used a sieve with a long handle. I wasn't sure I'd be successful because of the bat's location -- it was hanging on a curtain, which didn't give me the solid background I feared I'd need to keep the mammal flat against the metal sheet. I was pretty sure it would escape and take an aerial tour of my house. That was something I wasn't looking forward to.

Cautiously, I slipped the cookie sheet behind the bat as I covered it with the sieve. The docile creature submitted to my attempt and I carried it outside ensconced between the two. Bill didn't want me releasing it from the patio, but since I was barefoot, he had to be the one to carry it back to the woods. He crossed the yard, carefully laid the cookie sheet down, and slowly, from as much distance as possible, lifted the sieve. 

I have no idea how long the bat stayed there. I just know I had too much to do to stand there and watch. A bit later, it was gone.

Why am I telling you all of this? Quite simply because I wanted you to know what to do if you find yourself at home with a bat. As long as the bat is perched somewhere, grab a cookie sheet and a sieve and your problem's solved. It's a humane solution after all. And you know, #kindnessmatters!

File this under "Best tips from Green Grandma" or "Tips from Green Grandma I'm never doing!"




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wrapping Up Summer with a Fabulous Upcycled Jewelry Giveaway!



The Wrapping Up Summer Giveaway Hop is hosted by MamatheFox.com

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review.

I admit it -- I love jewelry. And there are a few things that make me love certain jewelry more than others:
  • Jewelry that's gifted to me. There's just something special about jewelry that has been carefully selected just for me.
  • Jewelry with a history. Before my mom died, she gave me the platinum eternity band she always wore. It was given to her by my dad's mom, but it wasn't her ring. We suspect it was my grandfather's late wife's wedding ring. She died in childbirth (as did the child) and he later married my grandmother. My mom wore the ring for so many years that it reshaped into an oval instead of a circle. I treasure this ring. I also have a 3-diamond ring that was my aunt Helen's. She received it on her 16th birthday in 1933 and gave it to me when I was in my 20s. There are other family heirlooms that I cherish.
  • Fair trade jewelry that, when purchased, helps someone provide for their family. What can be better than that? I love buying my fair trade jewelry at The Shepherd's Door in Bellevue, PA, right down the street from where I now work.
  • Upcycled jewelry, crafted from recycled materials. 
It's the latter I want to tell you about today. I discovered some amazing jewelry and accessories designed by Laura ZABO and I'm so excited to introduce you to them. 

The Gator Gray Bicycle Tire Belt
Laura creates beautiful items from used tires. I received a sturdy belt from her. It was made from a bicycle tire. Not taking my weight loss into account, I ordered a belt that was simply too big for me. But altering it was fairly easy. My husband just used scissors to clip a couple of inches off the end and a drill of some kind to poke an extra hole or two. It was a bit more difficult that using an ice pick on leather, but it worked and I love my belt.

Okay, so that's the belt. Let's get back to the jewelry. Laura sent me a pair of earrings that I absolutely adore! Strips from upcycled black inner tubes strung onto hoop earrings adorned with tiny beads. Oh yeah.

Upcycled Inner Tube Earrings

You know you want some of these, right? They're flirty and fringed and fabulous. I love the way they feel brushing against my collarbone. And to be honest, they make me forget I'm 60! Almost.


Laura ZABO is a London-based eco-designer who creates environmentally-friendly, vegan fashion accessories made entirely out of scrap bicycle tires and inner tubes rescued from a future in the landfill.

"Drawing on my own life experiences and lifestyle choices I have created an innovative and diverse range of belts, jewelry, handbags, clothing, sandals, guitar straps, home decor, and dog accessories," explains Laura. "The collection is constantly growing. As we use more and more bicycles every day, in turn we are using more and more tires every day, creating an increasing amount of waste to pollute our planet with. My collection offers a great solution to this problem, transforming this "waste" into something useful and sustainable."

You can see for yourself how unique and stunning her collection truly is by visiting her website.

Now here's the part you're really going to get excited about -- Laura is offering a set of upcycled jewelry valued at $81 USD to someone in the GG community! How cool is that?! Just enter below on the Rafflecopter and a winner will be chosen via Random.org on September 1st. How's that for a great way to celebrate the new school year? Keep it for yourself or share it with your teenager, who is sure to make an impression wearing these! 

Curlywurly Upcycled Inner Tube Necklace, Earrings, and Bracelet Set

Giveaway is open to 18+ Worldwide! Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway 


MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

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