Monday, June 30, 2008

What Is Baking Soda Exactly? Is it Eco?

We scrub our tub, bake a cake, brush our teeth and make our toilets gleem ... we even can wash out greasey grime from hard to manage hair with it. When reading an article on Eco-Chick today about mixing it with a little shampoo for extra cleaning power, and a few weeks ago on Tiny Choices for making DIY toothpaste - I suddenly realized I had no idea what Baking Soda actually is!
If you are cluless too of the actual chemistry, here is some confusing clarification:

" It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs. Sodium bicarbonate is an amphoteric compound.
Commercial quantities of baking soda are produced by: soda ash, mined in the form of the ore trona, is dissolved in water and treated with carbon dioxide. Sodium bicarbonate precipitates as a solid from this method:
Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O → 2NaHCO3
Say Wha? Ok, so they mine the trona to make the baking soda with because the other popular method of obtaining baking soda called the Solvay process apparently causes pollution probs-> "In inland plants, such as that in Solvay, New York, the byproducts have been deposited in "waste beds" the weight of material deposited in these waste beds exceeded that of the soda ash produced by about 50%. These waste beds have led to water pollution, principally by calcium and chlorine ions. The waste beds in Solvay, New York substantially increased the salinity in nearby Onondaga Lake, which is among the most polluted lakes in the U.S. and is a superfund pollution site."
Darn it! And the trona dates back 50 million years in some areas, which makes me think of oil and how we have all but raped the earth of it without a thought to how eliminating any substance completely could change the ecology of the planet (even beyond the fumes of pollution).
Does this mean Baking Soda is not very eco? Egyptians used it in it's natural mineral form as a type of soap, but the stuff we are buying is commercially & chemically produced using massive industrial efforts, and may be causing more mess to clean up. A mess that actually can't be cleaned with baking soda.

What do you think about how baking soda is made, do you think it is still the eco- friendly & natural go to product?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weird Science: Atom Smasher (remember what happened in Spiderman 2?)

When I read this article about the "most powerful atom-smasher ever built" all I could think about was the Spiderman 2 movie when Doc Oc's experiment goes haywire sucking everyone & everything into the machine - including pulling cars towards it and killing his lovely wife/assistant. So comic books are not hard science, especially when made into blockbuster films...but check out the mind blowing, bizarre implications of this multi billion dollar collider machine :
"Some critics fear the Large Hadron Collider could exceed physicists' wildest conjectures: Will it spawn a black hole that could swallow Earth? Or spit out particles that could turn the planet into a hot dead clump? ...
The machine, which has been called the largest scientific experiment in history, isn't expected to begin test runs until August, and ramping up to full power could take months. But once it is working, it is expected to produce some startling findings.
Scientists plan to hunt for signs of the invisible "dark matter" and "dark energy" that make up more than 96 percent of the universe, and hope to glimpse the elusive Higgs boson, a so-far undiscovered particle thought to give matter its mass.
The collider could find evidence of extra dimensions, a boon for superstring theory, which holds that quarks, the particles that make up atoms, are infinitesimal vibrating strings.
The theory could resolve many of physics' unanswered questions, but requires about 10 dimensions — far more than the three spatial dimensions our senses experience....
When the LHC is finally at full power, two beams of protons will race around the huge ring 11,000 times a second in opposite directions. They will travel in two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space.
Their trajectory will be curved by supercooled magnets — to guide the beams around the rings and prevent the packets of protons from cutting through the surrounding magnets like a blowtorch.
The paths of these beams will cross, and a few of the protons in them will collide, at a series of cylindrical detectors along the ring. The two largest detectors are essentially huge digital cameras, each weighing thousands of tons, capable of taking millions of snapshots a second...
Critics like Wagner have said the collisions caused by accelerators could be more hazardous than those of cosmic rays.
Both may produce micro black holes, subatomic versions of cosmic black holes — collapsed stars whose gravity fields are so powerful that they can suck in planets and other stars.
But micro black holes produced by cosmic ray collisions would likely be traveling so fast they would pass harmlessly through the earth. "
Whoa! The reason I put the word "likely" in bold print is because , geez, well... that's not very 100% on some seriously experimental stuff! I mean a black hole is nothing to dismiss being that it can suck in entire planets and then what? You know before Doc Oc became the freak monster he did, he was a renown scientist who truly believed in his theories - my biggest theory is we never have the whole picture and are always working from partial information. It will be cool though, when they find other dimensions! :)

Photo: Associated Press

Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting Your Earth Friendly Freak On

Earth lovin' products that are actually for lovers are hitting mainstream, and thank gawd too - we no longer have to wear chemical processed fabrics and use chemical leeching toys. The cool part is there is no sacrifice for style or pleasure, the eco lingerie is not made of leftover burlap sacks (although I bet someone will try to do that in the next year), and the toys come in options beyond glass or some old world wood (which both can splinter! OUCH!)

There are options like the Laya Spot pictured here, which are made from Elastomer, a special plastic that does not contain hazardous hormone disrupting chems but still manages to not be rock hard. It's also German made, and for some reason to me that automatically equals awesome.
Then there's tech savvy planetary hero toys like the Solar Sensations Vibrator, which only need be charged up by the sun or even lamp light to get buzzin' along. And if you like to get extra freaky & sneaky with your solar power there's now the Solar Kitty Strap On, which is a wearable vibrator in a lovely purple colored silicone kitty shape. Meow!
If you are feeling overwhelmed with choices, you can always opt for the Babeland Eco Delight Kit (pictured here) which will get you started in exploring your saucy eco side and take out the pain of hunting out each product individually. It comes with organic based lube, eco vibe, Swedish condoms, and a soy wax massage candle too!
Don't feel left out if you are an eco sexy guy - there's elastomer cock rings that vibrate and elastomer masturbation sleeves like the Mavrick (what a good name!), and butt plugs made of glass (I know I know I said they could splinter, so plug at your own discretion.)
If that's not enough *ehem* stimulation you can always test out the only eco porn around, especially if you like alot of dread headed ladies and men, and benefiting the rainforest!
If you happen to be feeling super virginal, and maybe cause you are one... skip all this and go straight to Scarleteen, my favorite sex ed website in the whole whole whole world!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Getting A Used Bike (I Sold My Car)

A few weeks ago I sold my only car, which actually was a Ford Ranger truck that got really good gas mileage. I would love to say the only reason I sold it is because I am a brave environmental crusader- but actually my #1 reason for selling is because I have seizures. Seizures are super bad to drive with, and maybe on par with driving while intoxicated since it's totally dangerous.
Since then I have been on a mission to get myself a bike... 2 times I walked nearly 2 miles to the Recyclery- a rad place where bikes are built and cared for by using all used parts. My first trip they were closed, my second trip I learned they sort of help you put the bike together with you and not for you. As much as I love to learn new skillz, I can not sit in a dark cave full of endless WD40 cans. It smelled like my Cajun crawfish farming Grandpaw's chemical smelled like a seizure. Disappointed and feeling like the other punks there thought I was a wimpster since they started ignoring me and talking to their other friends, I decided to walk on. Then I found Hearn's Bike Shop! "Possibly the oldest in the US"... impressive. I walked in feeling tired, haggard, rejected and in dire need to find a bike - preferably the purple bike of my dreams.
Immediately I was welcomed by nice relaxed dudes who were so totally helpful, didn't make me feel dumb, and asked me to go down into "the dungeon" to see a bike my size...I think he called it "tween" size. Purple! Used! Perfect! (And no zombies or people chained to the wall down there, just bikes). When we got the bike upstairs though, another worker walks by and says "that one is sold"...ahhhhhh. Broken hearted. He says "I have another in the back of my truck" - which they bring in. PURPLE! USED! PERFECT! Another clunky fulgy purple bike to love (almost as cool as Pee Wee's bike in his Big Adventure, but not really). I got a pink bike helmet and talked about safety things such as shoving my shoe laces into my Ethletic Sneakers. And I was off and feeling pretty cool about my purchase being not only eco friendlier then a car, but also used - I get two green stars for this one! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

(Learning to) Sew With Local Organic Cotton

My mom never taught me to sew, she barely could sew a button on a shirt after popping off, she was more of the "let's go to the mall and get something new instead" type. When I was 10 she tried putting me in sewing classes for a week but I puked at class (had some flu) and missed the important lessons - my only memory besides the toilet in the ClothWorld was that I had coaxed the sewing instructor's son to actually finish my project for me. (Super fulgy shorts and top.) When I was in college I finally got my first sewing machine, which I mainly used on mixed media art projects that were not at all meant to push through the thing, and I nearly killed my sewing machine 100 times. To my surprise the only person I met who knew how to sew at the time was yet another boy- Rodney Tassistro. He taught me how to load the bobbin and push fabric through and even got me to try out a actual pattern. I stuck mostly to sewing art though, since I could not be tamed by the rules of sewing clothes.
I have been making frankenstein-ish outfits on occasion ever since, but recently i am determined to really learn to sew. Here is a picture of what I threw together yesterday morning, made with locally grown, milled, woven organic cotton I bought at Spiritex. It was actually a ball of scraps with a rubber band around it for like $2, and I barely put thought or work into it - but best believe I am going to sport this thing. The belt is something my neighbor Heather picked up for me at a flea market :) ... I love when hippies get sick of their cool beaded shit!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Used Books: Help Me Find a Good Fiction Novel

Yesterday I went scouting for a new book to read. Being that I have an education from New Orleans, Louisiana & I never read a single book in highschool...that is except Stephen King's The Needful Things (by force of it being my X-mas present from my skater boyfriend) - I haven't a clue where to begin looking for a fiction novel. I walked into the Used Book Store downtown Asheville on Lexington Ave., and I knew as soon as I walked in I was in a sea of possibilities and confusion. I felt like I was going cross eyed, having anxiety, and knew the Rico Sauve hipster boy behind the counter was not going to be helpful since he was busy flirting with a punk girl. I have read somewhere between 100-200 books on health, healing, Buddhism, all things spiritual, and before that phase I unfortunately read a shit ton of true crime books by Anne Rule, horror & true stories.
I know what I want to read now, and maybe ya'll can help me find it: I want a fiction novel that is not violent, nor about war- it can not contain a depressing heart sinking ending. I am hoping for a story where someones life changes, preferably a female character, and the ending is like actually good! (It can start out a little tragic kinda like the Goya drawing pictured here, and than go uphill from there). I read the whole Golden Compass series and loved it till the very end which just made me so upset and heart broken I didn't want to read another novel for like 6 months. (Extreme, I know! Content is so important though, especially the ending.)
I told every customer in the used book store's fiction aisle this same plight for uplifting fiction as stated above, at first I think they were weirded out by the fact that I knew no authors and hadn't a clue (and was actually speaking to them), but once I announced which State I had gotten my education everyone was scrambling to help get some classics in my hand, like The Great Gatsby. I sensed their horror at my deprivation from "great works of literature". So I made sure to announce "No Gone With The Wind either", to which everyone shook their head like 'no way of course'!

Does anyone else have some suggestions of good happy ending fiction novels?
PS-Used books are everywhere & are more eco friendly! When you are done with them, donate to your local library or a book swap :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stray Kittens - Oh My Gawd How Cute!

Yesterday evening I saw a little flicker of a tiny tail out the corner of my eye. When I walked over to my landlady's shed next door I was so super delighted excited clap happy to find that there were some little wee kittens living under the shed. A series of tunnels dug by the local groundhog provided a pretty cool place for the mama ( pictured at bottom) to have her babies.
I mean, just look at that adorable worried little white moustache face! Ahhhhh! How cute can they be, and there are three of them. 2 yellow and 1 calico cutie who was way camera shy. I had to sneak up on them to get these pics, quietly and from very far away- so please excuse the no flash blur.
This cat mommy is totally awesome. She is everything a cat mom should be- when I walked up this morning she bunched up, puffed, hissed, and came towards me - and I was scared. Awesome. But also, through those growls she squints her eyes and gives me looks of 'thanks for the food'. She's just doing her job, and I appreciate what a good job she is doing.
If they go to the local shelter, they will very likely be put to sleep. So me and my neighbor Heather are devising a plan to find homes and get them a little more domesticated, by means of tuna and canned food of course. :)

Chelsea Green Looking For Green Guide Authors

Better late then never right? I just got wind of this cool contest from Earth First but there's not a whole lotta time left since your entry is needed by July 4th. Chelsea Green is looking for authors to write 5 more parts to their Green Guide Series, which are 92-ish page pocket books that help people easily learn to recycle, bike to work, compost and other earth friendly diddies we all need to learn. If you are one of the five winners you get a $1,000 advance on royalties and sign a publishing contract with Chelsea Green! Now that sounds like bunches of fun - I am devising a pocket guide plan right now :)
Here's some of the entry rules:
*A brief (one page or less) summary of the topic of your proposed Green Guide.
*A brief personal biography that includes information on your expertise and knowledge in the subject area of your proposed Green Guide, and a listing of any previous publications whether in the form of books, print magazine articles, or online publications.
*A table of contents for your proposed Green Guide.
*Brief summaries of each chapter or section of your proposed Green Guide.
*Finished samples of your proposed Green Guide including:
The Introduction/Preface (if any).
A minimum of two sample chapters, if organized in chapter form.
*Whatever the form, the samples should add up to a minimum of 3,500 words.
*Entries must be received at contest -at- on or before Friday, July 4, 2008
LEARN MORE HERE! And good luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why I Use the USPS Exclusively

I have had a little odd obsession with how the USPS mail service works since I was very young. My Elementary school BFF (Cindy Ohler) did an experiment once where she addressed a letter to herself, put me as the return address and then put no stamp. And the letter she wrote me arrived about 2 weeks later, saying it was being returned for postage on the envelope. Her experiment worked! I became an avid pen pal to a gazillion people in highschool, and in true punk rock fashion I would put my American Flag stamps upside down in protest to 'stupid government'. I got to know my mailman really well, and was like a dog with the delivery guy- with ears perked for when his mail car would drive up and I'd go flying to the door.
I use the USPS exclusively for delivering packages at The Oko Box, I do not ever use UPS or Fed Ex, or DSL and the like - and here are my environmental views as to why this is best::::
The USPS is always coming to your house & hood, they don't have to ever make special trips or plan a special route to get there, no extra gasoline was used to get there like with Fed Ex. The USPS is already coming no matter what, so why create an extra shipping footprint by using a service that has to plan the trip just for your package. Plus I just love the USPS.
And maybe it's just me, but I think their uniforms are cuter too, too bad they aren't organic! ;)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eco Peeve Friday: Toxic Yard Trash

Ever since moving to more rural parts of the US, I noticed a huge increase in the careless amounts of toxic trash strewn about people's property. Leaky gasoline cans, motor fluid, anti freeze, rusted bottles of who knows what- I have seen batteries, spray paint cans, soda cans and other toxic metals thrown into creeks that are contaminating the water. Even in places so remote, so pristine and so beautiful you would never expect to come across a sudden dump pile of one family's old appliances, paint cans and billions of plastic bottles. Especially coffee to go cups. GAWD! People let's get real, how hard is it to bring our trash to the designated dumping area in our community!? One of the worst I ever saw was here in the Smokey Mountains, there was a beautiful large river that me and my friends would go swim in (in spite of the water snakes)... it was like a fantasy fairy land for me compared to growing up in dirty New Orleans. Until one day we went for a relaxing day at the river and it was roped off with signs "private property" and the owner had turned it into a dump, literally. Car parts, 18 wheeler parts, trash, metal scraps, and other random shit filled up the bank of the river. Sadness.
Can people of the USA not be educated about the earth, is it so important to teach all our other distortions of history, math, P.E., Grammar and whatever, only for the kids to finally turn to a polluted world to make a future in? Kids of all ages, gender, and class need to know that paper comes from trees, that gasoline isn't good for the soil, that animals and fish eat plastic litter, that pesticides poison our food chain and that WE do have the power to clean up the mess (and certainly to stop making it worse).

New Designs By Gaia Conceptions @ The Oko Box

These are the new gorgeous dresses at The Oko Box by eco designer/artist Gaia Conceptions. The strapless Alladin Dress is made in raw luxurious I am totally drooling over it. The lovely Kiss Me Dress is made of an organic cotton and hemp fabric blend...designed for that first date kiss. As with all her creations you can have these made to your exact measurements, with no need to worry. You'll get the perfect dress with the perfect fit. So Dreamy.

I Wish I could Sew Really Well, Just Like Prairie Underground

Ok, the title pretty much sums it up. There are times when I see beautiful simply designed organic garments and think "oh maybe I can sew that myself"...then remember that figuring out patterns from pictures is not exactly the level of sewing I am at. This pic is from Prairie Underground, a totally fabulous eco clothing designer who makes pieces such as this Angel Slouch Dress/Tunic. They are sold in like a billion cool boutiques, but gawd forbid I can look through every one of them trying to find this one dress only to fear the disappointment that it may be realllllly expensive. Never-the-less, I am in love with Prairie Underground and would love to have them at The Oko Box in the future. In the mean time, I might just try out my sewing skills yet again - it's ok if it comes out a little frankenstein-ish...right!? :)

Crafting A Green World: Eco Art Supplies Exsist!

I feel like I just found a unicorn! Trying to find a one stop shop for eco art supplies is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Even if you have some earth friendly crafting supplies here and there in big chain stores, what we all yearn for is that one store that has a delightful eco minded collection and nothing else toxic to dig through. It’s such a buzzkill to have one recycled paper pad in a store full of stuff so nasty and smelly and noxious that I am hurrying out of there for some fresh air......

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Grechen's Closet Interviews The Oko Box

There's so many interviews flying around right now, my head could that good head spinning way. I personally love interviews because I am voyeuristic and love to know all about people's real lives- famous or not (preferably not).
So here's a wee bit of an inside scoop on how I started The Oko Box, if I would shop at Walmart, and what my favorite piece of eco clothing in my closet is. Thanks To Grechen of Grechen's Closet for inviting me to participate in her eco chic month! :)
Read the super duper interview HERE.

Eco Designer Interview: RYANN

Leslie @The Oko Box Interviews Raina B. Of RYANN:
What steps in your life led you to choose designing fashion in an environmentally conscious way? Was it gradual or was there a sudden revelation?
A little of both, it happened over the course of a year while working in fashion for another designer. I have always been concerned with environmentalism and social justice. I think it took a while for me to connect the dots to how I could relate those ideas to the fashion industry. It came mostly from knowing what I did not want to do. When I decided I wanted to do eco-fashion I hardly knew what that entailed or what the process would be.

Do you believe your personal style influences your designs? Do you get inspired by vintage patterns or modern fashion?
I get inspired from everything and yes my personal style definitely influences design, but does not control it.I am inspired mostly by people and their moods and personalities.

Which side of the environmental fence do you ride more, organics or fair labor?
I try to do both, I try to be conscious in everything, the packaging, manufacturing, fabrics, its hard, there are some things you don't have control over.

How have your customers influenced your life?
They keep me going, if it weren't for the positive feed back I get I wouldn't be doing this at all.

Who taught you to sew? How old were you? Was it a passion or a struggle at first? (I ask this cause I'm struggling while learning to sew!)
My mother taught me to sew when I was about 3 years old, at that time I learned to hand sew pillows. As I got older I learned to make clothes, it was definitely a struggle. I was stubborn and hated following directions, I was always looking for short cuts, it took many many years before I made anything wearable.

Can you share your vision of the future, and how you believe choices like ethical clothing can make a difference in the world?
I believe that everything we do makes a difference in the world good or bad. It can be a direct influence, an energetic influence, sending positive messages, making people think, inspiring others. That's why its important to make sure everything you do is a reflection of how you would like the world to be on a larger scale.

Feel free to share any other thoughts, comments, DIY ideas, and ways you keep your life "green" or ways we can too .
Additional thoughts....hmmm Never underestimate the impact you have on others, so always try to make it a positive one.Tips for being green, turn off lights, open windows and turn down that AC in the summer, and of course bring your own bag!!
One of a kind items by RYANN are now on eco auction @ The Oko Box! Hurry, Auction ends June 30th! And then new items will be put up :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Postal Scale: Is There No Green Alternative?

There are some items for which shopping green and ethical is not only hard, but may be downright impossible at this time. Occasionally I buy something and kick myself after when I find an environmentally safe alternative just a week after making a purchase (like when I bought my toaster oven and then found the Hybrid Solar Oven that can also be plugged in as well as used in the sun). But here's one I just know no other option for: a postal scale. I actually bought this postal weighing scale on
ebay, which I assumed was at least supporting a small business (not an earth guzzling walmart). To my surprise I found "MADE IN CHINA" written really huge across the box, which immediately made me disgusted with the product and was swarmed with nightmarish images of little children being forced to put together my postal weighing device. Not only that, but does it contain lead?... the plastic surely smelled noxious enough for me to place it outside to "air out" a bit. Luckily it can be either battery operated or plugged in - so rechargables are an option and no batteries are an option too.
I really look forward to our future, when everything is made with the earth & people in mind, together in environmental & social harmony. Where we don't have to resist and contemplate each purchase so much, but can feel good knowing everything was created fairly & with good intention. Sounds like a nice fantasy right? I personally believe it can be a reality.
In the meantime though ::: Does anyone know some alternatives to things like postal scales?

Monday, June 16, 2008

On The Inside Organic Lingerie is Here

Yippie Zippy! This is just a quick announcement that On The Inside Lingerie is now available at The Oko Box! Not only is it super beautiful, super comfy and totally affordable - but it's handmade to each order, special for you :)

A little insider note: Designer Elise of On The Inside says she just got more organic fabrics and there are new styles to come this summer. We can't wait!


OK, ya'll this has nothing to do with organic clothing, organic farming, or fair trade... but in my own bizarre opinion it could have to do with health. Actually the bounce was just too funny not to share. My hometown is New Orleans- home of crawfish, Mardi Gras, the french quarter, hurricane katrina's wrath, freakish humidity and the dance style called the BOUNCE! Oh Yeya, ya heard me! When I first saw this video of a girl doing the "new orleans bounce" I could not believe what I was seeing ( you must watch that link!). What made it even more awesome and hysterical is that wikipedia actually explains what exactly the "bounce" style is :
Bounce music is an energetic style of New Orleans hip hop music, taking off in the early 1990s, but dating back to 1980s. It is characterized by call and response party chants and dance call-outs typically sung over the "Triggerman" (from the song "Drag Rap" by the Showboys) and/or "Brown Beat" (from Derek B's "Rock The Beat") samples. The genre maintains widespread popularity in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Southern United states, but has a more limited following outside of the Deep South. MC T.T. Tucker is noted as an early pioneer of the genre, and quite possibly its creator. The genre evolved quickly through the '90s. Throughout this decade the Take Fo' record label dominated the scene with artists such as DJ Jubilee, Da' Sha Ra', Willie Puckett, and Katey Red.

So WTF does the Bounce have to do with health? Well, it not only will make you smile, giggle and be happy just to watch the videos - but if you actually try to bounce you may just get the best workout of your life! Plus being that it is a sexually aggressive dance move it may improve your love life, especially when you show your partner that you learned to bounce at The Oko Box!
If anyone watches these videos and succeeds at learning to bounce please let me know...I am off to try and bounce...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

High Waisted Pants Trend

In the not too long ago distant past, about 8 years ago pants still came up to your belly button. Whenever I looked back on those old pics, no matter how punk rock I may have dressed those high waisted pants seemed to look dorky. The main reason I was glad they went out of style though was because pants that are tight around your major digestive organs can actually cut off blood flow during digestion and screw up your metabolism. To me this sounds horrible , being that I have Celiac Sprue (digestive autoimmune disease) and I certainly don't won't to cause any probs with the natural flow of digestive juices. Also I find that even though the style is visually interesting it seems puritanical in it's attempt to get your zipper higher and higher up to your neck. I think I will stick to my low rise, and thank Britney Spears for bringing it back down to a healthy level. :)
Do ya'll love this new high waisted trend, did you never leave the high waist trend, or are you sticking with your low rise pants?

Photo: Organic High Waisted Pants By John Patrick

Organic Baby & Toddler Clothes That'll Make You Smile

These might be my favorite organic baby & kid clothes I have ever seen. Maybe it appeals to my inner Beetlejuice or my love for all things that bumble, either way Happy Green Bee will rock your itty bitty socks off.
The patterns are bold, fun stripes of all sorts of varying colors and come in a variety of mix and match styles - kimonos wraps, fairy dresses, skirts, leggings and cardigans... whatever your baby feels most comfy in, they've got it! I actually don't have any kiddos myself, but if I did I would certainly be dressing them up in these fun organic duds... in fact I kinda wish I could go around dressing up everyone else's kids in these swirl suits! ;)
Thanks to 1Plus1 for finding this great store so I could share too -who ironically said they don't have kids either but couldn't help but write about Happy Green Bee. ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Customer Profile: Jolene

Wowsers Jolene looks super sexy and gorgeous in her Love Me Two Times organic cotton dress by Gaia Conceptions! This was Jolene's second purchase from The Oko Box, the first being the beloved Bamboo Cowl Neck Dress (which is nearly sold out in lemon yellow and a few left in black.) Gaia Conceptions makes beautiful garments to order based on either the chosen size or your exact measurements. Not only that but she uses locally grown and milled organic cotton and the whole production is done lovingly by hand here in the USA (specifically North Carolina). Once made each piece is hand dyed with low impact colors which have a vibrant yet soft hue. I think this purple might be my favorite! Thanks Jolene for sharing your beautiful pic with us :)
*Hey Oko Box Customers- Send in your pics in your oko box purchase and be featured on this blog!*

Upcycling an 80's Prom Dress

You may think this dress looks pretty hot now, right!? But it's former life was a freaky 80's formal dress that had puff frill sleeves bigger then my head, and full on wide sequin straps! This is my first upcycling job on an ole' prom dress that's tooooooo out of style and assuming how fashion evolves may never come back into style...kinda like thick plasticy polyester or formaldehyde laden paper dresses of the 60-70's. I have a thing for sequins though but with my environmental beliefs I can't be buying those shiny toxic diddies no more...unless they are on some thrift gown already.
I am hoping to sew a series of these party dresses and have them available at The Oko Box in time for fall/winter holiday parties! oh yeah! Would you sport this sexy beast?!! The tag said size 9-10, which seems about accurate except there is plenty room for flaunting some big sexy hips :)
Stay tuned for more upcycle creations, since this is my new obsession....

Bio Bags: Put Your Pet Poop Where It Belongs

Being that most environmentally conscience folks are also some serious animal lovers it can be a huge point of frustration to deal with your pet's poop. I myself have wondered about the many ways I have seen and tried and contemplated about our best buddy's waste issue. I have been attacked by the smell of a giant poop pile behind a barn where my landlady was piling her blind, deaf, and nose broken old dog's poo- and I have been in annoyed in NYC when stumbling upon a upper east side late night poop and run ...and I know that everyone of us has stepped in it at least 2 times in our lives in our own yard. I read that flushing it kills penguins or something somewhere. Hec, some punk ass & bored teens even leave you their poop on your lawn (this happened to my cousin this week- twice!) :::*Enters Bio Bags* :::
Bio Bags have now come on the scene to save your day from poop stench and environmental guilt because they actually biodegrade! Although they say they are for "dog waste", I personally believe they can transition over fine to cat poop scooped out your litter box (full of Feline Pine, Corn Litter or Shweat Scoop of course). Here's what they have to say about Bio Bags for pets over at ReusableBags.Com "the waste and the BioBag can be thrown in your backyard compost, where both items will decompose naturally; the waste and bag can be buried, where micro-organisms will quickly eat both; the waste and bag can be set at curbside with other yard waste where communities collect biodegradable waste for composting. Lightweight & highly compressible, it’s easy to carry a bunch in your pocket while taking the dog for a walk. "
Now that is a bad ass biodegradable bag! And your pet poop probs are solved :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Eco Peeve Friday: Perfume

Did you know that conventionally made perfume is totally a toxic soup of chems that contain compounds hazardous enough to be on the EPA's bad list for over 20 years? I don't need a scientist to tell me that perfume is unhealthy though, one whiff of that perty lady in front of me in line at the post office and I am about to gag. I have tried holding my breath but the moment of horror comes when I finally need to breathe again and have to take a HUGE inhale of the smell I was trying to avoid. Ahh! Maybe it's just me but I prefer a little B.O. wafting around the room over the artificial flowery smell that makes me feel like I've be locked in grandmaw's closet. I seriously wondered how so many people can even stand to wear perfume till I learned about certain toxic fragrance ingredients doing paralysis tricks on your smell-ability - aka, people wear a shit ton of perfume cause they can no longer smell it, and keep lathering on more. Maybe this explains why old people wear the strongest smelling fragrances since year after year of perfume abuse has deadened their nose... (but this certainly doesn't explain why teenage boys slobber on too much Cologne to no avail!) I doubt I am the only one who feels attacked by other people's artificial smells- can't we all just go stylin' perfume free and heart our personal aroma?!!
For those of you who enjoy scientific hypochondriac gross chemical lists, here's one based on a study done by the EPA on fragrance products:

"1. ACETONE (in: cologne, dishwashing liquid and detergent, nail enamel remover)
On EPA, RCRA, CERCLA Hazardous Waste lists. "Inhalation can cause dryness of the mouth and throat; dizziness, nausea, incoordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, and, in severe exposures, coma." "Acts primarily as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant."
2. BENZALDEHYDE (in: perfume, cologne, hairspray, laundry bleach, deodorants, detergent, vaseline lotion, shaving cream, shampoo, bar soap, dishwasher detergent)
Narcotic. Sensitizer. "Local anesthetic, CNS depressant"... "irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, and GI tract, causing nausea and abdominal pain." "May cause kidney damage." "Do not use with contact lenses."
3. BENZYL ACETATE (in: perfume, cologne, shampoo, fabric softener, stickup air freshener, dishwashing liquid and detergent, soap, hairspray, bleach, after shave, deodorants)
Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer); "From vapors: irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough." "In mice: hyperanemia of the lungs." "Can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects." "Do not flush to sewer."
4. BENZYL ALCOHOL (in: perfume, cologne, soap, shampoo, nail enamel remover, air freshener, laundry bleach and detergent, vaseline lotion, deodorants, fabric softener)
"irritating to the upper respiratory tract" ..."headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure."
5. CAMPHOR (in: perfume, shaving cream, nail enamel, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, nail color, stickup air freshener)
"local irritant and CNS stimulant" ..."readily absorbed through body tissues" ..."irritation of eyes, nose and throat" ..."dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions" "Avoid inhalation of vapors."
6. ETHANOL (in: perfume, hairspray, shampoo, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid and detergent, laundry detergent, shaving cream, soap, vaseline lotion, air fresheners, nail color and remover, paint and varnish remover)
On EPA Hazardous Waste list; symptoms: "...fatigue; irritating to eyes and upper respiratory tract even in low concentrations..." "Inhalation of ethanol vapors can have effects similar to those characteristic of ingestion. These include an initial stimulatory effect followed by drowsiness, impaired vision, ataxia, stupor..." Causes CNS disorder.
7. ETHYL ACETATE (in: after shave, cologne, perfume, shampoo, nail color, nail enamel remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid)
Narcotic. On EPA Hazardous Waste list; "...irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract" ..."may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)" ..."defatting effect on skin and may cause drying and cracking" ..."may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys" "Wash thoroughly after handling."
8. LIMONENE (in: perfume, cologne, disinfectant spray, bar soap, shaving cream, deodorants, nail color and remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, air fresheners, after shave, bleach, paint and varnish remover)
Carcinogenic. "Prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer." "Always wash thoroughly after using this material and before eating, drinking, ...applying cosmetics. Do not inhale limonene vapor."
9. LINALOOL (in: perfume, cologne, bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, nail enamel remover, hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, vaseline lotion, air fresheners, bleach powder, fabric softener, shaving cream, after shave, solid deodorant)
Narcotic. ..."respiratory disturbances" ... "Attracts bees." "In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression ... development of respiratory disturbances leading to death." ..."depressed frog-heart activity." Causes CNS disorder.
10. METHYLENE CHLORIDE (in: shampoo, cologne, paint and varnish remover)
Banned by the FDA in 1988! No enforcement possible due to trade secret laws protecting chemical fragrance industry. On EPA, RCRA, CERCLA Hazardous Waste lists. "Carcinogenic" ..."Absorbed, stored in body fat, it metabolizes to carbon monoxide, reducing oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood." "Headache, giddiness, stupor, irritability, fatigue, tingling in the limbs." Causes CNS disorder.
11. a-PINENE (in: bar and liquid soap, cologne, perfume, shaving cream, deodorants, dishwashing liquid, air freshener)
Sensitizer (damaging to the immune system).
12. g-TERPINENE (in: cologne, perfume, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, air freshener)
"Causes asthma and CNS disorders."
13. a-TERPINEOL (in: perfume, cologne, laundry detergent, bleach powder, laundry bleach, fabric softener, stickup air freshener, vaseline lotion, cologne, soap, hairspray, after shave, roll-on deodorant)
..."highly irritating to mucous membranes"... "Aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema." Can also cause "excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS and respiratory depression, and headache." "Prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact."
NOTE: Unable to secure MSDS for the following chemicals: 1,8-CINEOLE; b-CITRONELLOL; b-MYRCENE; NEROL; OCIMENE; b-PHENETHYL ALCOHOL; a-TERPINOLENE"

Compiled by Julia Kendall (1935 - 1997); distributed by Environmental Health Network(used by permission)
Reference: Lance Wallace, Environmental Protection Agency; Phone: (703) 648-4287
Excerpts from "Health Hazard Information"
Symptoms of exposure are taken from industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Get Your Kinks, Quirks and maybe some Organic Clothing @ The Oko Box

Like every studious blogger and business person I track the traffic and keywords that bring all my lovely customers & readers to my websites. Sometimes when cruising through popular keywords googled to find my store & blog there are some *ehem* words and phrases that *ehem* are pretty funny and make me go 'hmmm'. In the tradition of many bloggers past I would like to share with you now those special keywords that brought many people with fetishes, secret thoughts, & questions to The Oko Box!
Let's start with...


*women in clear panties* - sorry to disappoint but "clear" organic panties have not yet hit the green market!

*hottest girls* - well, um, yes the grrrls of The Oko Box are the hottest and have gone wild!

*free toys for adults* - if only we were giving that away...wait, thanks for the idea!

*bootylicious underwear* - THIS WE HAVE! Go check out our majorly bootylicious selection!

*box condom* - hmmmm, can someone tell me what this is? Doesn't sound effective...

*large women in bikinis* - see, now we all need to stop complaining about our size big or small cause some pervert out there is searching for us on google!

*vintage boots sex* - saucy!

*women in undies* - yes, just plain ole' undie wearing women, make sure to check out our bootylicious selection above.

MY FAVORITE kink is::: *pica chu porno* - Wow! WTF? How did that get ya to The Oko Box?

Now for...


*small little money scam box* - uh, yes I think I have a small little money scam box right over here for you...huh?

*don't try this at home blender tricks* - oooh, what can you do with a blender away from home that you can't do at home, please share in the comments section :)

*tencel allergy* - Oh no, tencel is a natural fabric but it does go through chemical processing and I imagine would cause some chemically sensitive people some probs :(

*dress me up organic* - grrrl, you came to the right place I would l-o-v-e to dress you up organic , go to and get this party started!

*jewelry turned my skin green rash* - Yuck! That's why I don't wear metal anymore. yuck.

*fall punk wardrobe* - how interesting that someone is looking for a fall season punk style wardrobe, does this not seem ironic? Yet still, I can help! Have ya seen the Clean Up or Die Tank at The Oko Box yet?

And the WINNER OF QUIRKS is::: *prison box container guillotine* - cause who can live without them !?! And certainly we can help you find one.......

YAY for keywords! Did you find what you were looking for :) !?

Today's Magic Word: UPCYCLING

The concept of upcycling completely enthralls me, the way I imagine an archaeologist feels when they stumble onto a new site full of bones that they'll have to reassemble. But I am stumbling onto a gravesite of old out of style garments left to collect dust in wayward thrift shops. The fuglier the better when it comes to upcycling because you know that crazy ole' puff sleeve prom dress with the big stain on it will never be used again in it's current condition. For those of you who are new to the word, as I was not too long ago, Wikipedia describes upcycling in plane terms like this : "Upcycling is the use of waste materials to provide useful products. Ideally, it is a reinvestment in the environment and embodiment of the notion that while using resources one is also contributing to them and their value. This is antithesis of the consume and waste concept in society."
So I have this box of super ugly clothes that I am setting out to transform into adorable new creations. To learn more about all you can do to green the craft of upcycling check out this post at Crafting A Green World. To see a great example of upcycling check out Clare Bare @ The Oko Box.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Meadow @ The Oko Box

Since pictures speak louder then words (or so they say) I think I will let these adorable sustainable clothes speak mostly for themselves. Eco Designer Meadow is now available at The Oko Box! Her designs are sophisticated, well tailored and on par with Ecoganik (who is quite worshipped in the organic fashion industry). Thanks Meadow for making such cool eco friendly clothes for us all to drool over! Check it out at The Oko Box.

Recycle Your Day Giveaway

Want a Hemp Shopper from The Oko Box for FREE? Then scoot over to the happy lovey green blog Recycle Your Day where you can enter to win! Plus you can get the inside scoop about how The Oko Box began and maybe even some secrets about me...

New Organic Lingerie By On The Inside

Have you been wishing for some new organic lingerie to come on the green scene, the kind that is so comfy, so sexy and so totally organic!?! Me too! And the real kicker here is it is actually an affordable price (I know I know, it's like the Jeanie in the lamp really listened). Locally based lingerie designer On The Inside has now delved into using organic cotton in some of her skivvies, and aren't we all glad because her stuff is super cute and will be available at The Oko Box sometime this week! She not only is local to the Asheville NC area, but she uses organic cotton fabrics that are woven locally too by Spiritex. And to top that off Spiritex uses North Carolina threads to weave with. Crazy huh, and then The Oko Box is local to them. This is a very locally local organic lingerie project with a light footprint & we would like to share it with everyone! Be looking forward to some new organic panties, cami's and bra sets at The Oko Box.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grechen's Closet is Going Eco Part 2

Doesn't Grechen look awesome in this dress too!?? This dress is the Gaia Conceptions Love Me Two Times Dress which has now become The Oko Box's top selling frock. Who couldn't fall in love with a locally grown and milled organic cotton dress that converts into a skirt, is made to your measurements, and is hand dyed with special loven' care. All this and still priced far below most eco fashion, which is an important part of what I strive for at The Oko Box - being affordable & ethical. Here is what Grechen had to say about her second Oko Box purchase:
"Gaia Conceptions Organic Cotton Dress/Skirt from The Oko Box - this may become my new favorite dress. The cotton is so soft and light and I LOVE that it multi-tasks and can also be worn as a long skirt (I will show you that next week!). It's super-versatile, and the color is perfect. Gaia Conceptions makes everything to order, and has an amazing selection of colors to choose from. Get free shipping at The Oko Box with code grechen. "
Yay Grechen! Keep spreading the good word on eco savvy fashion!

25 Hottest Girls In Green

My new favorite eco news group Earth First has come up with their very own 25 Hottest Girls In Green list, which I was actually quite impressed with since it mostly focused on the green grassroots community across the US and the beautiful women who really drive it. Some people were annoyed that all you had to be was a model or blogger to make the list, while others were annoyed that some of the ladies were not "hot" enough. Dang people. What I felt kinda sucked was they included a few celebs, and they totally forgot to include me! Never-the-less go check out who's who in global cooling hotness!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Laptops, Shysters and Organic Clothing, Oh My!

I apologize for the bloggin' delay. Turns out my Laptop that had died and was under rigorous autopsy may have been the victim of some crazy shyster computer repair guy (whom shall remain unnamed). With good instinct I put the fuzzy lies to a halt by canceling the new computer order & demanding my ole' laptop back- no one got beat up but strong words were exchanged and I got my computer back in my possession. My laptop had actually not died and seems to be running quite zippy now with a little help from my fav tech savvy buddies from Groovy Web Design (the dudes who created the new Oko Box website!) Thank Gawd my lovely ole' laptop is now in the process of being spruced up cause not being able to chat with everyone on here about organic clothing & saving the planet was driving me totally insane. Plus there's nothing worse then feeling like your computer will just go to some technology landfill mountain, to melt in this HOT global warming style inferno called summer.
So this picture here is of me today chillen by some recycle bins in my neighborhood. I am wearing an organic cotton Sun & Surf Tank, the Upcycled Denim Mini Skirt (which I make myself), Autonomie Project's organic sneakers, and my socks and bra (hanging out my tank) are both American Apparel. Yay! Maybe it's TMI but even my undies are handmade with reclaimed fabric by Supayana. I love knowing that every purchase I make has a lighter impact and supports eco minded consumerism. And I love stopping scammy rude computer repair jerks who try to take me down their dweeb spiral to hell.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Laptop Died :(

For those of you who follow my blog I just wanted to say I did not disappear from the face of blogging, but my poor trusty but now rusty laptop computer totally died. There was no funeral but a full autopsy was done, and it looks as though when my X boyfriend let the cat take a car ride sitting on top the laptop and said cat took a pee that dribbled down into the mother board...well, you can guess the rest of the gory details. The slow decay took a year and 1/2 and finally completed... cat urine is soooooo dangerous for your computer. Don't ever let this happen to you!

Love, Leslie
PS- New laptop should be here any day now, YAY!!!
PSS- Curses to said X Boyfriend!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Periodical Cicada or a Look Alike?

Today my kitten Toots found this awesome orange Cicada. Since I used to be completely obsessed with bugs I knew enough that the orange Cicadas are the gang that only comes out every 17 years, or is it 7 years? See once I started looking up info on the lovely & informative internet all the facts began to conflict, even to finding that there were possibly 17 year Cicada look alikes. huh? Maybe they got their years off a little, or are ahead of the gestation curve. Is there an entomologist out there who can help me out on this one, would love to know what's up with my new buggie friend! And did ya'll know that people eat these things?!! OH yes they do, here are some Cicada Recipes, like German Chocolate Cicada Cake ,Cicada and Chickpeas, and Cicada Granola Chews (don't worry there's recipes for quiche and something involving mayo too!) But best check it before ya wreck it, cause it's advised that pesticides may be on their bugalicious bodies, so choose your culinary location wisely and don't try them if you have shellfish, nut or soy allergies. I think this means they are gluten free though :)

Bye Bye Clunky Solar Panels, Hello Thin Solar Strips

Remember what a big deal it was to go from 8-track cartridges to cassettes, and then from big records to CD's and then CD's to an I-Pod ?!! As with all technology things just keep getting smaller, and thank gawd for the environment that this is such a hip thing to do. Computers, phones, music devices have all shrunk. All the more reason for gadgets made with the environment in mind to shrink in weight also - and finally the big clunky solar panels have done so. A huge advance in solar technology has lead to thin solar strips for your roof- no more giant installation projects that put holes in your roof to be harnessed. Read this article from Low Impact Living to get the techie scoop !

Grechen's Closet is Going Eco

This is Grechen and she is greening her closet one eco garment at a time. The cool thing about organic fashion these days is the many ladies who have been dedicated followers of main stream fashion can finally find equally as hot numbers in the eco realm. Grechen's Closet is a blog which is doing just that, as she sings the praises of many small designers, her focus has now shifted to include many eco designers in her chorus - and this is exactly what the organic clothing industry is working towards. Yay! The pleasure of signs of success :) - and doesn't she look hot in her new Ecoganik Tania Dress from The Oko Box ?!!! There's also a bunch o' discounts over there in Grechen's Closet (including Free Shipping for The Oko Box), so get diggin' !
PS- Grechen, may we one day see your head?!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Blogger I Heart (& I Think Hearts Me)

I think I have met my twin - her name is Colleen Kane and she writes a kick ass blog called Good Green Fun. I realized I hearted my new twin when I read her lovely article about my true love The Oko Box (my store), and it's Blog (that's this blog). But what sealed our twin fates was her beautiful solid writing style, and her fringed blog about abandoned buildings in Baton Rouge. Having lived in Baton Rouge for a few years while attending LSU for Design, the environmental implications of the sprawl full of empty buildings and the wasted furnishing inside was something I awed over 10 years ago. Her photos and curiosity are a kind of statement which is not only artistic, but political, environmental and downright fascinating. If that wasn't enough, check out her co-worker Louisiana Cockroach! LOL!

Formerly an editor at BUST and PLAYGIRL, now rocken' the green world and planning a green wedding! Yay! Check out Colleen's skills....
IMAGE : Colleen Kane

The Asshole Idea Of "Carbon Belch Day"

Now here's a little bit o' news I found over at my new favorite green news blog Earth First. Appropriately placed in their "haters" section, there are some fellows over at who think it is super fun to rape the planet of natural resources and ignore the need of millions of poor. They have invented Carbon Belch Day so that all the insane ignorant jerks of the world who are enjoying their posh middle to upper class lifestyles (because poor can't participate in most carbon belching suggestions) can push the environmental envelope as far as it can go by using AS MUCH energy as they possibly can. How? Well, with the Carbon Belch Calculator you can find out just how much damage you would enjoy doing..."guilt free" of course - by "doing a partial load of laundry, including meat in two meals a day (bonus for having steak for dinner), take a plane trip, host a party, have a BBQ, and drink a beer". And when your brainwashed short attention span tires of those carbon belching highs you can "light a campfire, watch television, smoke 4 cigars, go boating, and then take an 8 minute shower".

Now as with all asshole groups who are actually trying to destroy something rather then make it better here is a perfect hypocritical statement from their site, where they degrade carbon offsets because they "cost money" and then ask for your $$ donation for their site to help them with their right wing anti-environmental agenda. LOL!

"Perhaps the most absurd aspect of the entire Climate Alarmist agenda is the burgeoning "carbon credit" industry. To offset our green guilt, we are told to "buy" carbon credits to supposedly neutralize our CO2 footprint. Somehow, this bogus idea of environmental indulgences has become accepted as a real and valid way to deal with our Carbon Guilt.That’s why we’ve "created" Carbon Belch Debits (CBDs) -- a meaningless term that will have just as much impact on Al Gore’s "planetary emergency" as the carbon credits.How Carbon Belch Debits WorkHere’s how it works. For a gift of $10 to help -- the sponsor of Carbon Belch Day -- with this and other efforts, you can fund a “Carbon Belch Debit” (CBD). With that $10, will run banner ads and other internet efforts to get more people involved in this campaign to save the planet and expand other efforts. We estimate that each $10 Carbon Belch Debit (CBD) will allow us to reach about 1,000 people through Drudge Report ads and other efforts."

Charisma and humor can only last so long when you have a smug and uncompassionate agenda - just like Hitler knew how to do, yep, Grassfire is using the same style of power trippin' play on words propaganda as the king jerk of history.

Now before you read their highly hummer lovin' earth invisible ideals, brace yourself - because you too could become a hater... a hater of the grassfire asshole mentality.

News Via: Earth First, Image: on Flickr (and OH doesn't the picture just say it all!)