It’s like camping! Except more pathetic (Day 145)…

July 23, 2007

fork and pan

Sigh. A true sign that things over here at Thistle headquarters are getting a little desperate: I find myself eating dinner and thinking, yeah, plates are so overrated. Who needs plates? They just mean one more thing to clean, which means all the more water and soap being used.

So my green move today is to make like a university student/camping enthusiast and eat straight out of the frying pan (or the pot, depending on what I’m cooking). I suppose if I invested in a nice cast-iron skillet, it would make for a better culinary canvas. But still, something about eating out of the pot just screams “lazy,” “uncivilized” and “pathetic”.

Photo courtesy of Jasmic on Flickr.

Voluntary simplicity, beginning with the end of my face wash (Day 100)…

June 8, 2007


In the ninth episode of Greentime, Amy speaks about the idea of voluntary simplicity: The idea that having the freedom to do whatever we want in the end actually makes us less happy, so we have to shift our thought processes from wanting to needing: Do I need multiple SUVs? Do I need to sleep in these pyjamas? Do I need this glass of wine from Australia? (Well, yes, actually I do need that last thing).

Now if there’s anyone who knows from happy, it’s a Buddhist — seriously, have you ever seen a statue of a disgruntled Buddha? I didn’t think so. To these guys, happiness is wearing only a robe and sandals, eating a bowl of rice, sitting on top of a mountain and thinking about nothing.

I’m not going to lie, no matter how aligned my chakras or what stage of enlightenment I’m at, my definition of happiness is going to go way beyond rice and sandals. But the further along I get in this green challenge, the greater appreciation I have for minimalism.

I look at Meghan, who doesn’t have a closet, TV, microwave, dishwasher, bath or air conditioning, and she’s perfectly happy. My friend Craig has been known to throw out cell phones and even couches on a whim — yes, he might also need a check-up from the neck-up, but he seems content.

But enough rambling: all this is just long-winded way of saying that I’m done with face wash; I’m using my bar soap instead.

My sister might think this is ironic, as I’ve always reprimanded her for doing exactly this.

“How can you use the same soap on your body that you use on your face?” I’d ask in disbelief. I think I’d heard this same question being posed just as derisively on a television commercial once, and it always seemed to make sense, until I stopped to think about it. In reality, it’s not as though confining oneself to a single soap is akin to washing your face with your armpit residue. Soap’s soap, and skin’s skin.

So when I bought this Kiss My Face pure olive oil bar soap, I thought I’d do as the label told me and kiss my face with it. After rinsing clean and looking up, part of me was shocked that it hadn’t left my pores in ruins and stripped half my freckles away — but no, it was the same as any other product I’ve been washing my face with until now. And it gets all my makeup off too, so no need for separate makeup remover.

One bar of soap, three purposes, two less products needed.

P.S. I can’t believe I’ve made it to 100 days! Woo-hoo!

A soapbox worth preaching on (Day 95)…

June 3, 2007

soapboxThis Radius soap holder is 100% recyclable, made “on high efficiency electric injection molding machines” (I have no idea what that means, but they apparently use 75% less energy) and holds a bar of Kiss My Face pure olive oil soap perfectly.

See, I’d finally made it through my craptastic Alba body “wash”, and was looking for a different brand. Then I remembered one Thistle reader (I think it was GreenYogini) saying she loved this bar soap and used it not only for her body, but her face and hair and teeth (OK, maybe not teeth).

But I was hesitant: ever since I was a teenager I’ve been a body wash devotee because I love how it foams up and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. However, now that I no longer have a petroleum pouf and am using natural products, there’s not much lather to be had anyway.

In the end, despite my dislike towards that “squeaky clean” feeling, I decided to give bar soaps another try — after all, they do get a bit foamy, and come in less packaging (sometimes none, in fact). Plus, even if I purchased a bottle of body wash and refilled it, I’d still be refilling it from another, bigger plastic jug that would eventually have to be replaced. And finally, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it requires more energy to manufacture the wash as opposed to the bar.

So as you can guess from all this sudsy rhetoric, I’ve now switched to bar soap, and am adjusting rather well. The only thing I didn’t consider was that I’d need something to carry it in when I go travelling, hence the Radius holder above (except mine’s pink), found at a local health food store for under $5, which, even with the cost of soap, still amounts to less than most body washes. I think this officially qualifies as a win-win-win — and possibly another win — situation.

No hope in this soap (Day 26)…

March 26, 2007


In another product switcheroo, I changed today from my usual Kiehl’s body wash to a natural one from Alba, a brand my friend Meghan recommended (at least when it came to shaving cream). The papaya-mango flavoured one smelled yummy, so I gave it a whirl.

I guess I should have known that by “cream body wash” they literally meant cream. Trying to work up a lather, I felt like this stuff would sooner turn into a cake topping before it turned into any sort of functioning soap.

There’s no way I’ll go back to all those brand-name body washes with a list of ingredients I can’t pronounce — it’s all-natural from now on — but there’s nothing cleaner-feeling than a good foamy lather.

Also, I realize bar soaps are probably the greenest way to go here, but they all leave that sticky residue — some call this “squeaky clean” but, really, I don’t feel the need to squeak. So any recommendations are welcome!

Green from Karim (Day 13)…

March 13, 2007


As I’ve said before, I love being green but hate to compromise style. This is why, when I ran out of handwash today, I restocked with Method. On the green front: it’s made with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients, recyclable plastic and isn’t tested on animals. On the style front: it’s designed by slickster Karim Rashid (who, on the local front: also happens to be Canadian! … OK, technically he was born in Cairo … All right, and he may or may not live in New York now … but close enough!).

It retails for around $4, which is pretty reasonable for handwash. I find that it doesn’t lather up that much, but spreads around easily and feels like it’s getting the job done. The people behind the brand are a little kooky — they have this whole “people against dirty” campaign, which creeps me out for some reason — but they seem nice enough.

Best of all, though, is that you can get this stuff everywhere, so no need to go digging in the dusty aisles of that alternative health store with the semi-comatose cat in the front window.

*Update: Jessie Jane has a great comment on this post. “My favorite thing about Method,” she says, “is the story my boyfriend heard the CEO tell at one of their corporate meetings — apparently he came home one day to discover his infant daughter had drunk almost a whole bottle of the surface cleaner (apparently it tastes as good as it smells). They took her to the hospital, but aside from a brief tummy ache she was just fine, no stomach pumping necessary.”