Green Laundry

Standard

I would subscribe to the hippie lifestyle if it wasn’t for my love of being clean. There’s nothing like reaching in the closet and putting on a fresh pair of socks. I like to smell good, but I also do not like to put harsh chemicals on my skin. Read the back of your laundry detergent and you’ll likely find a long list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce because they do not exist in nature. My saving grace is Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.

This soap comes in different sizes and scents. It is made with all natural ingredients. The company is committed to sustainable and ethical production/business practices. I spoke with some representatives of Dr. Bronner’s in NYC at the Green Festival this past spring. They were personable, gave out tons of free samples, and genuinely love the product. That’s because Dr. Bronner’s is good for the environment, a great multi-purpose cleaner (you can clean almost anything with this tuff), cheap (it’s highly concentrated), organic, fair trade, and gentle on your body. All castile soaps are great for cleaning, Dr. Bronner’s just happens to be the best deal and therefore, my favorite.

For awhile I was content with using eco-friendly washing detergent, but I recently moved into a new apartment with a coin operated washer and dryer. I’m not someone who normally carries around $3 worth of quarters and it’s also expensive, I needed a solution. I remembered watching No Impact Man, where the family did their laundry in the bath tub because it does not require electrical energy. Cool beans, I thought, but how practical would it be?

It was surprisingly fun and a great workout! Since I use Dr. Bronner’s I do not need to worry about chemicals soaking into my skin. Next came drying, which didn’t work out quite as well as I thought it would. I installed an indoor clothesline. After two washes this is what happened:

This picture serves as a cautionary tale: either buy an anchor or find a stud or be prepared for the hardware to fall out (and it will). I rehung the clothesline and it works, but the process is much more time consuming than the dryer and much less effective. It’s constantly wet in the Pacific Northwest so that also makes it more difficult to rely on air drying. I still hang up a small amount of clothes. It is more practical (and still saves a lot of energy) to do your laundry manually and head to the dryer to dry clothes. You will still save money and you will still help out the earth!

Instructions for bath tub laundry:

  1. Turn on the water and remember you can have a cold, warm, or hot wash.
  2. While the water is running add 1/4 cup castile soap and 2 tablespoons baking soda directly into the flowing water.
  3. Add clothes and swish around to ensure they are soaked.
  4. Let the clothes soak for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Put on some Italian music and getting ready to stomp those clothes like you would grapes to make wine. Stomp for 2-3 songs to ensure clothes are cleaned.
  6. Drain water.
  7. Refill tub with water at desired temperature.
  8. Repeat stomping and rinsing until water runs clear (usually 1-3 rinses is sufficient).
  9. Stand on clothes to squeeze out excess water and let drain for 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer to clothesline OR dryer.

Updated Easy Morning Protein Shake

Standard

Medjool dates

Before I moved to Portland I always drank the same natural protein shake every morning. I like to stick to natural, whole ingredients, and have my doubts about adding supplements and boosters to my food.

Greek yogurt is an amazing source of protein and it’s delicious, but it can be expensive and it can be hard for some people to digest dairy. This new recipe does not include any dairy products.

Updated Easy Morning Protein Shake:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons organic creamy peanut butter (or substitute almond butter)
  • 2 medjool dates, cored
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 organic banana
  • 3 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Load ingredients into blender starting with milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter.
  2.  Next layer dates, banana, and ice cubes on top.
  3. Blend it up!
  4. Enjoy

I always jump out of bed because I know it’s time for my yummy shake. This shake provides you with a lot of energy for the day.

Peaceful Portland

Standard

International Rose Test Garden, September 2012.

For the past few years I have been traveling the nation, or as others call it college.

After spending 18 years in a dreary, yet comfortable suburb of Syracuse, NY, I set out for my first year of college at American University in Washington, D.C. I quickly realized DC was not suiting my needs and transferred to CUNY Baruch in Manhattan. After living the city life for a year (and in a 200 sqft apartment with my boyfriend) I NEEDED space and we “settled down” in Hoboken, NJ. After three years in the giant metropolis I was ready for a change.

In September I was on the move again, but this adventure was quite different. With the whole world to chose from (yes, including sunny southern California) my boyfriend and I set our sites on Portland, OR, “potentially the only place in the nation with worse weather than Syracuse,” chimed my pops. The rainy season has begun, but I am still finding the brightness in the culture, activities, and beauty of Portland.

Peaceful Portland will chronicle my adventures in Portland and the Pacific Northwest, one of the best kept secrets of America.