Formaldehyde in my “natural and organic” shampoo? Yikes! …and I’m not too happy about being green washed! What is Diazolidinyl Urea? It’s not formaldehyde – but it releases formaldehyde as it slowly breaks down into the shampoo. Let me tell you how that chemical works – but first I’ll tell you how Diazolidinyl Urea came to my attention…

The bottles of shampoo that made me think!

The bottles of shampoo that made me think!

I’ve always though it was worth the extra money to buy products in the “organic and natural” sections of the supermarket (in my case Hannaford) or big box stores (for me – that’s Target!). How sad was to find out through a friend that those products aren’t as safe as I though – for both my family and the environment!

My friend Karen has always been as conscience about the environment as I – rightly owning a shop in Saratoga Springs called “Green Conscious Home” – and when I brought her two shampoos I was using for myself and my kids we were shocked when we took a closer look at the ingredients.

 

I found I was a victim of classic greenwashing – a claim of “natural” means nothing. Companies can add a small percentage of “organic” ingredients to a product that’s chock full of harmful ingredients and mislead us. A green leaf on the label, a slick advertising campaign, and a few healthy “claims” and we’re all buying it – lock, stock and barrel.

How each Diazolidinyl Urea molecule breaks down into 4 molecules of formaldehyde

How each Diazolidinyl Urea molecule breaks down into 4 molecules of formaldehyde

So, let’s get back to that Diazolidinyl Urea.

It’s a way for companies to sneak formaldehyde – yes that same stinky formaldehyde that preserved the fish and frog I dissected in high school – into their products. According to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as many as 1 in 5 personal care products contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

It’s in the products because of formaldehyde releasers – chemicals that when added to the products slowly decompose to release molecules of formaldehyde. It’s a potent way to get shelf life – the longer the product sits, the more formaldehyde it will contain as the formaldehyde releaser breaks down.

Diazolidinyl Urea is one of those chemicals. Here are some formaldehyde releaser to look out for on labels, from the Environmental Working Group website:

DMDM hydantoin
Imidazolidinyl urea
Quaternium-15
Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol )
5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane
Hydroxymethylglycinate

As well as a carcinogen, formaldehyde also is a skin sensitizer – causing dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin.

I’ve put aside my misleading bottle of shampoo and found a safer shampoo I’m really happy with. I’ve become an ingredient detective, learning the hard way!

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Finishing up postcards for my upcoming Holiday Open Studio! Save the date if you are in the Albany, New York area: November 21 & 22, 2015 from 10am – 5pm both days!

 

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Can you remember a time when a book you read changed your perspective? I was just at a great little thrift shop in Slingerlands, New York and suddenly a display of vintage tablecloths looked…. interesting enough to buy. Before, if I wanted a tablecloth, I’d never consider anything but brand new.

How can old tablecloths in a thrift shop suddenly look worthwhile? Some of the retro patterns from (was it the forties?) were quite dashing, and some were handmade – one tablecloth was intricate red cross stitch on white cotton. But, what suddenly made them seem interesting was reading my talented friend Eddie Ross’s new book with his partner Jaithan Kochar, MODERN MIX: Curating Personal Style with Chic and Accessible Finds.

Eddie and I came together over our blogs and our mutual love of old red transfer ware dishes five years ago. (My grandmother Honey gave me her mother’s set of red transfer ware and I love them!) When Eddie’s new book MODERN MIX arrived by mail, I couldn’t wait to dig into it – and I was not disappointed!

The book is a marvelous feast for the eyes – all of the photographs are from Eddie and Jaitahn’s New York City apartment or their Pine Hill Farm home. The book is colorful wealth of new ideas, with building on discovering and acquiring, then restoring and curating, and then ending on a glorious chapter on entertaining. Believe me, you’ll want to throw a party when you finish this book!

I called Eddie last week and asked him how the book has been received? He said people have been responding amazingly well – calling the book colorful, beautiful and educational! He told me he tried to write the book from a friend to a friend, with advice you could come back to time and time again.

And what advice does he have for encouraging folks to use the old but dated family treasures that are sitting in attics and basements and use them? “…It’s a mindset. They have to want to use those pieces,” Eddie told me.  “You need to challenge yourself to look at them in a new way.”

And using those dated pieces makes sense – few people have the cash to buy new everything. Making a mix of old with new makes it all look chic, and honors the history and story of pieces that need to see the light of day and not a coat of dust.

Did I buy a tablecloth at the thrift shop? Interesting as my newly trained eye found them, my first task is to get those old family treasures under my nose out first to admire and mix in with my life. To use those red transfer ware dishes more often, of course – but also polish some old serving spoons passed down from my grandmother Mabel. And when I’m at my parent’s house, I wonder what I might find sitting dusty in their basement? I need to dig some things out, clean them up, and throw a party! Thanks, Eddie!

Eddie and Jaithan will be on a book tour with MODERN MIX this year, visit them!

for Modern Mix Book Tour details, click here

October 15 BOSTON

October 22 SCOTTSDALE

October 30 RALEIGH

October 31 GREENWICH

November 3 RICHMOND

November 5 SCOTTSDALE

November 13 MINNEAPOLIS

December 1 NEW YORK CITY

December 3 DARIEN

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Last month we took a trip to my friend Karen Totino’s shop Green Conscience Home in Saratoga Springs for some new Mythic paint samples for Eva’s room (she’s thinking purple) and to order American Clay earthen plaster for our bathroom ceiling.

 

caption

Eva looking on as Karen Wilmott greets our dog Violet – Saratoga is so dog friendly!

We have a mold problem in our bathroom (which has a working ceiling fan – but we are a family of five with one bathroom!) and not only will the earthen plaster resist mold because it is naturally alkaline, it will control humidity levels as it slowly absorbs and releases moisture in the air. Karen has this finish in her bathroom and loves it. She even loves the smell of the clay when she takes a shower and it starts absorbing water – so I’ll find out if I love the smell as much, soon!

 

caption

color samples of American Clay

To be crazy, we choose a dramatic blue shade of American Clay. It’s an existing bathroom and we’re trying to make do (and keep) the perfectly functional dated ivory tiles with forest green ivy and mauve accents. Adding blue curtains and rugs seemed to make the bathroom tiles look much better. And blue on the walls and ceilings might even make the place look cool, in an eclectic sort of way!

 

caption

Bags of earthen plaster and colorant

American Clay comes in four finishes, and we choose the “Enjarre” finish because it’s only one coat and we have to trowel a ceiling, so it’s the easiest to try. (The beautiful Loma, Porcelina, Lomalina, and Marittimo finishes take two coats.) The clay is mixed with colorant and water to the consistency of soft-serve ice cream and troweled about a 1/4″ thick on the walls and ceilings. The only caveat I’m given is to tape tiles carefully to allow for the clay’s thickness so painter’s tape is not trapped under the clay.

 

caption

Green Conscience Home’s living green wall

I was also at Green Conscience Home for an AMAZING evening clothing swap on February 12th and scored an armful of new clothes! Thanks Karen, for hosting the swap and the good times and great food. If you’re in Saratoga check out Karen’s shop – it’s been renovated with fabulous new wall finishes and flooring AND a stunning  living green wall! Karen can tell you how to put a living green wall in your home, too!

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

I am so happy to share with you this interview I’ve done with my friend Jodi Aman! We met standing next to each other in line at an event in New York City last year, and she’s dedicated her life to helping people heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She has just launched Give Fear The Boot! an Online Anxiety Recovery program.

Since meeting Jodi we’re become friends who have helped support each other’s dreams, and I’ve watched her work very hard to get this program  together. If you suffer from anxiety or worries, or know someone who does, please have them listen to her videos. She is truly  healer and has helped me personally overcome a decades-long bad habit (instantly with a change of perspective and a story about a salad bar!) and helped me gain grounded perspective in my life.

Jodi Aman (photo: Renee Hall Photography)

Jodi Aman (photo: Renee Hall Photography)

Loretta: Hello Beautiful Jodi! When I met you at the THRIVE Arianna Huffington Event in New York City back in March 2014, you were telling me how you were creating an innovative, new program to help people overcome their anxiety. And now it’s finished! As you were filming this video series, what type of people did you think the series would help?

Jodi Aman: THRIVE was a great event. And hanging with you was the frosting! Wow, in March this whole this was just a little seed and now it grew and came to life. I was hoping to help the thousands of people struggling with low self-esteem, insecurity, anxiety, and panic that write to me. They are looking for answers and I couldn’t meet with them all. Actually, we learn much better in a group setting anyway. Plus I knew that people wanted help from where ever they are in the world. Especially right from the comfort of their own homes. I wanted to provide that.

Loretta: What makes this program different from what’s out there already for people suffering from anxiety?

Jodi Aman: The way I approach it is different. Loads of books say don’t think about it, but I tell you how not to. Also, I explain something that I don’t read much other places about this idea of having compassion for yourself and how important it is to trusting yourself. I show how anxiety is not you. Not even part of you. It influences you, yes, but separating it from the self is so powerful for people. They have never thought of it this way. Also, most people trying to get better have a lot of negative self-judgment that gets in the way. I stop that at the onset, by addressing self-blame with real science.  And this makes all of the difference. Anxiety increase when we don’t feel like we are good enough. I focus right on that in my program and people can then let go of their fears simply and easily.

Loretta: What results do you see people watching this video series receive?

Jodi Aman: People are going to understand anxiety better than they have before. Knowing the ins and outs of anxiety puts the power in our hands! By watching these videos, people  will have some hope and belief that they can do something to help themselves. That healing from anxiety is reachable. Theyll be able to count on themselves to get them there and then follow my simple steps to practice getting there!

Loretta: Can you give an example of the results of one of those teaching methods?

Jodi Aman: Changing how you think  about anxiety, changes the way to speak to yourself in your head when you feel nervous. This can instantly deflate the intensity of the experience, and over time, anxiety (or attacks) get further and further apart and keep decreasing in intensity. Anxiety increases or decreases depending on the meaning we make. When we think it is awful, it becomes more awful, if we thought it wasn’t too bad, the feeling would tailor to that description. Anxiety needs you to be scared of it for it to survive. I show you how to stop being afraid and then you get better.

Loretta: Amazing. I’m so happy to see this dream come true for you! I’ve watched you work SO diligently to make this happen, and many, many people will heal with the compassionate and innovative training you do! Your work has personally helped me overcome obstacles in MY life, and I’m honored to help you share this video series with others on my blog!

Jodi Aman: Thank you so much Loretta, it means so much that I helped you personally, (someone I just met in a line and became good friends with!)  This video series comes from my heart and I’m excited to see how it helps people! The take away I hope people have while feeling calmer, more centered and happy in their life, is to give themselves much more compassion. This, I think, can change the world!

Jodi Aman

Click the button above (or click this link: GiveFearTheBoot) to check out Jodi Aman’s three FREE videos! You will be happy you did! And if you know someone who suffers from unnecessary anxiety or worry, please share this blog post and interview I had with Jodi Aman with them!

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Son H is nine years old today!

He brought a batch of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, frosted with peppermint buttercream, and topped with coconut and chocolate chips to school to share with his class. Peppermint and coconut? Maybe it was a good combination – none of them made it back home so I will never know!

Nine years ago he was the best Christmas present I have ever gotten. I still remember packing in my suitcase a new Christmas CD and saving it to listen to at the hospital. It started with jingle bells ringing – a Diana Krall album. I have to get it out and play it again.

A Very Happy Birthday to my wonderful son, who makes my life and my heart fuller than he could ever imagine!

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

 

p.20-21 - EcoHappy: A Simple Guide Toward An Earth-Friendly Life

Wow! The printing came out fantastic! Better than I could ever imagine!

What a GREAT day! So happy! My book EcoHappy: A Simple Guide Toward An Earth-Friendly Life arrived! It’s an 8 x 10″ black linen bound hardcover book with dust jacket proudly printed in the U.S.A. by Blurb on on paper made by a fantastic company called New Page Paper: 80# semi-matte, Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®),  and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) chain-of-custody system verified, all of which are third-party certified. I’m thrilled!

 

p.24-25 - EcoHappy: A Simple Guide Toward An Earth-Friendly Life

The colors came out beautifully! So impressed with the paper and quality!

You can order it through my online shop, use the discount code TENOFFBOOK for a $10 discount off the $65.99 price. Use this link here. My book is also available on Amazon.com! (but sadly, I don’t have a discount code for you to use on Amazon.)

 

EcoHappy

So cool! Here’s a screen grab from Apple’s iTunes Store for iBook purchases!

How about a digital copy? It’s only $3.99 through January 15 on with Apple iBook at the iTunes Store! Later, the price goes up to $5.99. Link here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ecohappy-simple-guide-toward/id948483425?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Have you ever read a book with iBooks? It’s a free app or program, and my favorite way to read digital books and magazines. I’ve tried to make a Kindle version, but am not happy at all with the way the books looks on Kindle. The Apple iBooks version is SO much better!

I’m sending out the book to my Kickstarter backers this week – if read a copy, let me know what you think! It’s just thrilling to be able to share my “EcoHappy” message of green living!

Loretta

My New Book Is here. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

Great news! My book EcoHappy: A Simple Guide Toward An Earth-Friendly Life has been proofed and printed! I haven’t seen the copies yet – they’re being shipped by Blurb from Auburn, Washington and should arrive on Thursday, December 4. The book looks better than I ever could have imagined. I can’t WAIT! 🙂 See my latest Kickstarter update here.

caption

photo layouts in points

I’d love to share with you some of the design decisions I made – and give you a peek at the soft-proofing process. Here’s some sketches from the last page of my notebook showing the six different layouts for the inside photo pages of the book, with the point sizes each photo needs to be cropped, allowing for an 18pt bleed, the area that will be printed but cut off during trimming. On top of that, there were four different layouts for title pages, acknowledgement pages, etc…

 

caption

margins and fonts set!

Text? Fonts and margins needed to be finalized. I decided to do the body of the text in Crimson Text Regular, a Google font by Sebastian Koch for book production in the tradition of beautiful old style typefaces – which should read well in print and as an ebook. The green font is IM FELL DW Pica Regular.

 

caption

“Wonder” is written out in Macarons Bold Sketch type

The font for the chapter captions is from the beautiful Macarons font family by Latinotype, which Christianne Smith of DesignSmith Studios introduced me to. It’s lovely.

 

Cavalier King Charles spaniel helping proof Blurb colors with a pantone fan deck spot and process rich blacks

Such a good color picker!

After everything was finalized, and margins and layouts double-checked, it was time to look closely at colors. Here’s our sweet dog Violet with a Pantone fan deck of spot and process colors. Here Violet choose Pantone Process COTO-C, a fantastic chartreuse! Thank you to my fantastic neighbor, graphic designer Kelly McMurray for lending me the Pantone deck!

 

Pantone colors process and spot for a blurb book

I downloaded the special Blurb ICC profile downloaded  to my Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign programs- so I could see the best reproduction of the CMYK inks on my screen. Since not all colors on a screen can be translated to print perfectly, you can even preview any “out-of-gamut” problems – colors that can’t reproduce change temporarily as grey so you don’t get too surprised when the book is printed. All photos were processed in Adobe Photoshop in RGB (red, green, blue), and then translated to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Black and Yellow) before being placed in the InDesign file for printing.

 

eco-friendly book: cover soft proof printout for Blurb book

The soft proof of the cover printed out!

When everything was wrapped up with the book InDesign file, it was sent over to Blurb. A pdf file of the book was sent back as a soft proof. Here’s the cover printed out!

Whew! I’ve learned SO much getting this book to print! The first books will be sent out to my Kickstarter backers, and I’ll be signing my new book at the Delmar Farmer’s Market at the Bethlehem Middle School on Saturday December 6th from 9-1, Saturday December 13th from 9-1, and Saturday December 20th from 9-1.

Loretta

My New Book Is Coming Soon. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m working on the layout for my book EcoHappy: Three Steps Toward An Earth-Friendy Life and have finalized the page size! I’ll be printing a larger 7.75 inch x 9.75 inch book!

IMG_3345It’s very important that I print of FSC certified paper. One of the options I explored I was under the impression that the paper used was FSC certified, but later learned it was not! So I changed to a different printing option.
IMG_3346 It’s really exciting to see some of the pages coming together!

 

IMG_3348 I’m thinking of keeping the color palette for the photos in the green, yellow and blue hues – or black and white. The photo on the right of my two daughters at Yosemite – I’m wondering if I should change it to black and white? It is full of green and blue, but sometimes I think photos with people in them look great in classic black and white.

There is a beautiful photo I took of a red leaf on green moss – but that will definitely go black and white! The red would be too jarring for the overall look of the book.

 

IMG_3350

I just love the bright Spring green of the buds in this photograph!

Hope you enjoyed the progress of the book so far!

 

Loretta

My New Book Is Coming Soon. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

I was so thrilled that the BEST WRITER OF OUR GENERATION, my friend Amy Biancolli gave the text of my book a final edit!

_MG_5414 _MG_5417
Amy and I met when our kids went to preschool together. At the time, she was reviewing films for the Houston Chronicle. Brilliant reviews. Now she writes for our local paper, the Times Union. She’s the feather in the newspaper’s cap!

We talked about the tone of my book and what it might need. Amy felt the writing needed a few transition sentences in places she felt the writing took too abrupt a turn.

Her kind words and edits gave me a burst of confidence.

…and did you know Amy has a newspaper column and blog Figuring ^@%^7@2! Out! Check it out here, with her latest post on hellos and street manners: http://figuringshitout.net

…and Amy has a new book coming out! http://behlerpublications.com/titles-biancolli.shtml The book is a warts-and-all look at suicide. Not a pretty subject, but an important one.

Loretta

My New Book Is Coming Soon. Thank you Kickstarter!

Shop my online EcoHappy Style Shop for unique jewelry and gifts!

Let’s stay in touch! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!