With the snow still blanketing the ground in New York, it’s a winter wonderland and Spring seems a long ways off.

Snowy weather is a good time to eat sweet Cara Cara oranges – and top them with sugared pecans and drifts of snow-like coconut!

I wish I lived in an area where I could grow an orange tree! this is the one I’d grow! The Cara Cara orange, a unique mutation cross between the Washington navel and what people believe was a Brazilian Bahia navel, was first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela. The fruit has typical orange skin, but inside the flesh is a gorgeous ruby color.

What makes them great – sweet and juicy with one Cara Cara orange giving you 150% of your daily Vitamin C, 30% of yourVitamin A, 250 mg of potassium AND a healthy dose of Lycopene – the same disease-fighting antioxidant found in tomatoes. (Another type of “red” orange – the blood orange – does not have Lycopene…)

Here’s my recipe for the sugared nuts:

  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1 Tablespoon virgin coconut oil, refined
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 1/2 minutes. The result with the shortened time is not caramelized or candied nuts, but sugary nuts – super easy and pretty foolproof!

Do you still have snow on the ground?

Loretta

Stay tuned for some exciting news on my upcoming crowdfunded Kickstarter Book Project!

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Okay, I have to admit I was a little nervous about my presentation “8 Easy Green Ideas” last month at Green Conscience Home & Garden in Saratoga Springs. My family was showing up! In the audience I had my Mom, husband and my three toughest critics – my children!

But, they didn’t give me any grief at all, and we had a fantastic time! (Okay a bit of grief – when we left the talk to walk to Broadway for lunch they all  questioned if throwing a gum wrapper I picked up on the street into the trash bin was an “EcoHappy” thing to do – didn’t I want to Reuse it? Recycle it?)

The presentation went fantastic – so nice to have conversations about “going greener” in the world – from non-toxic paint, to questioning clothes line bans, to safer deodorants. I gathered so many new ideas to write about in the blog!

 

Loretta Fontaine, Karen Totino and John Onderdonk

Karen Totino, myself and John Onderdonk

I was so happy to have Green Conscience Home & Garden owner Karen Totino there to help me answer questions after the presentation, as well as John Onderdonk. John is a LEED certified architect who lives in Saratoga, and works for Mosaic Associates Architects – the office I used to work at!

Back when I worked with John, the office was named Dodge, Chamberlin, Luzine &Weber and had offices in the suburbs. Now, as Mosaic Associates Architects their new offices are in urban downtown Troy, N.Y.! I am jealous and have to visit the offices, soon! John was telling me about some of the new LEED certified projects they have been working on.

Thank you everyone who came out on that chilly, sunny winter day! Below are some photos from Green Conscience Home, showing some of the fantastic products they carry. If you are in Saratoga Springs, take a one block detour off of the main drag and visit Karen and her team!

 

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Green Conscience Home, 33 Church Street, Saratoga Springs

Looking into the shop.

Loretta Fontaine inspiration board, eco-friendly carpet

Portos #2658 Tan Bark 100% Sisal Eco-friendly Carpet

Do you remember the inspiration board I made? I cut out magazine images to paste to the board and couldn’t remember what some of the products were – but Karen recognized this sisal carpeting on my board – and here’s the back of the sample! (Sorry, I should have taken a photo of the front of the carpet sample, too!)

 

cork tile flooring, earth-friendly cork tile flooring with epoxy grout

cork tile flooring

Amazing cork tile flooring – waterproof, too! Lots of options for cork color and grout color. This is a product I need to post about in the future!

 

repurposed wood flooring Saratoga Springs NY

Bleacher Board Repurposed Wood Flooring

That school gymnasium floor your parents bounced balls on? It could be your new floor!

 

recycled glass countertops saratoga spring

Vermont Verde Antique Soapstone, recycled glass countertops

Recycled glass countertops, Vermont slate. I love these colors!

 

non-toxic mattresses, Green Conscience Home

wool, cotton and natural latex rubber mattresses

Green Conscience Home has non-toxic mattresses you can “test out”! They are supremely comfy.

 

click-lock cork flooring panels, earth-friendly

APC Cork Flooring

Perfect for DIYer’s – this cork flooring clicks into place! Imagine the striped patterns you could make on your floor!

 

And lastly, the Mythic Paint I used on the walls of my own home! Hope you enjoyed the tour! What a fabulous shop!

Loretta

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I’m so happy to be speaking at Karen Totino’s wonderful shop Green Conscience Home & Garden in Saratoga Springs next Saturday, February 22!

I’ve known Karen through the Upstate New York Chapter of the Green Building Council, and I’ve made a special trip to her shop to buy the blue Mythic Paint we used to paint our living/dining/hallway walls. The selection in her shop Green Conscience Home is outstanding –  exceptional and “green” flooring, finishes, furniture and home improvement products. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Karen – and now I get a chance!

Loretta Fontaine "8 Easy Green Ideas" at Green Conscience Home in Saratoga Springs

I’ll be presenting “8 Easy Green Ideas” from 11am – 12pm on Saturday, February 22.Here’s the Facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/781827311851175/

Do you live close to Saratoga Springs? Hope to see you there! The event is free, RSVP at www.green-conscience.com/events

 

Loretta

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

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Happy Valentine’s Day! My Andre and the kids had a snow day today, so it was double fun! (My husband is a math teacher!) But it was daunting shoveling out the cars…

snow and shovel in delmar, ny

our blue van and red bug waiting to be free

We have a “horseshoe” driveway, so a car gets parked at each end to make it easier to shovel them out. I couldn’t believe how much it snowed last night!

 

snow fort in bethlehem ny

Rosie and her friend M in the snow

…lots of snow piles for digging tunnels in!

 

snow day in Albany

Son H happy in the snow

The snow added a special feel to Valentine’s Day this year!

Local columnist Shannon Fromma wrote a great post she recently on this big day full of expectations: www.blog.timesunion.com/savings/tricks-to-stem-valentines-day-spending

I agree with her that some of the best Valentine’s Day gifts are the ones from the heart – not necessarily the ones that cost the most money!

We have a fun and frugal Valentine’s Day tradition at our house.  “Team Dessert” makes a dessert on February 13, and “Team Dinner” makes dinner on Valentine’s Day. And it all has to be kept secret for the big reveal. Every year there is a theme – this year it was Sochi! Andre and the kids were “Team Sochi Dessert” with Olga’s Fluffy Honey Layer Cake with Fruit , Almonds and Sour Cream Frosting. They hid the cake in the laundry room when it was done. I was “Team Sochi Dinner” with Stroganoff, Beets and Cheese Boats.

(Do you remember the cheese “things” featured in a Sochi restaurant when Maria Sharapova took everyone for a tour of her home town? I didn’t have a recipe, just rolled the pizza dough into the boat shapes and filled them with cheese!)

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Loretta

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

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My Facebook Page EcoHappy Style is at almost 200 “likes”, and to celebrate I’m hosting a Valentine’s Day giveaway there! Click this link to visit the page and enter to win the necklace, winner drawn February 12!

 

2014 Valentine's Day blog giveaway sterling silver necklace

Sterling SIlver reversible Loretta Fontaine Maria Necklace with Blush Rose

The necklace features a photograph I took of an old-fashioned rose. There is one catch in this giveaway – you have to choose someone special for me to send the necklace to! I’m so excited to see who gets this piece of jewelry!

 

2014 valentine's jewelry giveaway eco-frindly sterling silver, photography, Loretta Fontaine Jewelry

I took this flower photograph from my own garden

The necklace is reversible – the back features a pink forget-me-not. Very sweet!

 

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I’ve just finished shipping orders of my most “romantic” jewelry to shops and galleries. JK Bloom Fine Jewelry in Troy, New York requested a lot of flowers this year! Another great place to find my work in Departures Gallery at the Albany International Airport, and Raiford Gallery in Roswell, Georgia!

…and of course you can order Valentine’s Day Jewelry online on this website at my EcoHappy Style Shop!

Visit my EcoHappy Style Facebook Page and enter the necklace giveaway! Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you can visit as it’s my official business page. (You need to have a Facebook account to visit people’s personal pages.)

…and one side note! Never underestimate the power of social media! Many people “tagged” who they would giveaway the necklace to on the page – and that tag lead to my post to show up in that person’s feed. So of course, they entered the giveaway to give the necklace back to their friend! I guess you could call that cheating a bit -but I will call it very sweet! I enjoy seeing people spreading the love online!

Loretta

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

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

My Kickstarter book project will start in March, and I’ve had fun exploring the Kickstarter website (crowd funding) and have found so many fantastic projects to back! Here’s one of them: wonderful artistic bamboo phone cases.  This Kickstarter project is ending in a mere seven days – so visit this link if you want to help out and see it fully funded: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1647197060/bambu-cases

 

bamboo phone cases

Bambu Phone cases on Kickstarter

When I spoke by phone to project co-founder David Shaw at his Utah home a few days ago, (David got in touch with me even with a bad cold!) he told me he started his Kickstarter project because he couldn’t find a case for his phone with the quality he wanted that was in his price range.  Bambu Cases, which he founded with friend McKay Nilson, brings quality bamboo cases together with their expressive original artwork at an affordable price. Check out the designs – there is one for everyone!

Loretta

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

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

Baby, it’s cold and snowy outside!

These FSC certified bamboo core skis from Ramp Sports would make winter fun. And did you know they are Made In The USA, in Park City Utah? Eco-friendly Ramp Sports also makes snowboards and paddle boards, as well.

 

Equal Exchange Hot Cocoa, organic spic fair trade cocoa

organic and fair trade hot cocoa from Equal Exchange

 

After a day out in the snow, wouldn’t it be nice to settle in with a cup of cocoa?

I’m thinking of adding fair-trade products to the EcoHappy Style Shop – hot cocoa would be top on my list. What do you think?

Loretta

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

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This past Wednesday I was at a fantastic breakfast full of lazy chatting and amazing food at my friend T’s house. A few women and various dogs (including puppy Violet!) strolled over after elementary school drop off. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day, and adding sweet things makes it into a “brunch” in my book, and brunch IS my favorite meal of any day, so…

Eco-friendly dark chocolate vegan truffles with coconut oil and coconut milk

Happiness on a plate, dusted with cocoa, coconut and walnuts

I brought along my dark chocolate truffles, and I’m working on perfecting the recipe to launch a new EcoHappy Style monthly newsletter. I want something enticing to get people to share their email address with me and invite my newsletter into their inboxes each month. I think my best bet is my Dark Chocolate Truffle recipe, filled with amazing natural and healthy ingredients, which I though was just about perfect.  But after this batch I think there’s still one more small tweak I need to try…

While I’m perfecting my recipe, any newsletter advice to share? I’m thinking of using MailChimp for the delivery. My Texan friend and talented artist Sarah Greenman just launched her new newsletter “IN THE STUDIO with Sarah Greenman” (and used MailChimp!). Her newsletter looks amazing, check it out!

Loretta

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

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As I look to “green up” my life, I’m taking a closer look at where all our household waste goes. I’m hoping the awareness will help me reduce and reuse more. The photo above is our van “Mrs. Bluey”, unloading the two baskets of paper and cardboard we collected in our home for recycling last week.

Most of my neighbors (I live in the hamlet of Delmar, town of Bethlehem – just south of the city of Albany, New York)  have a trash service that comes to the curb, and the company that I see pick up around our neighborhood has switched to single-stream recycling – so no more recycling bins, and all recycling is mixed in with the trash. I’ve heard scout groups are often invited to watch the sorting process at their main plant – wouldn’t that be fascinating to see!

 

Green Fiber GreenFiber Blow in Natural Fiber Insulation 541 Low Dust R13-R60

Green Fiber recycled insulation on the shelves

My family opts out of curbside pickup, mostly to save money, and we have a tag on our van that lets us bring our trash and recycling directly to the Town Of Bethlehem transfer station. Another option for paper recycling is five big green bins set up by Green Fiber Insulation at a local parking lot, and I often take my paper there. I like knowing that it goes into making 85% recycled content insulation. (And I am also a little lazy, too. In the Green Fiber bins I don’t have to sort the cardboard out from the paper – they take it all. I have to sort cardboard from office paper at the recycling bins at the town transfer station!)

 

Green Fiber Celluose Insulation being blown into an attic space, dust mask

{Green Fiber Cellouse Insulation blown into an attic}

Do you recycle your paper? Where does it go and what does it become? What recycled paper products do you buy?

Loretta

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

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As the New Year has rolled in we’ve had a cold spell here in New York. Our backyard creek, the Dowerskill, has frozen over.

With this weather, there’s a lot of time to hole up and ponder the year ahead. I’m inspired by friend Porter to start a phrase for each year. My 2014 mantra will be “EXPLORE MORE.” I want to learn more about green living, building and ideas. I’m not setting big goals, but hoping to take the time to look around, really dig in and see what I can discover!

One day I was out in the snow, geared up with snowpants, boots, bulky jacket, hat and scarf. Even so, it was below zero and my fingers started going numb from the cold even with some nice high-tech gloves on. But I went inside and traded them my “warmest” pair of mittens – the ones that literally resemble huge oven mitts! Then I could go out and explore some more!

I think if you’re outfitted with the right stuff you can explore anything!

Happy New Year! What are you hoping to explore this year?

Loretta

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

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