Thursday, January 29, 2009


Christmas is long since past but, for whatever reason, the kiddos are still singing Christmas carols throughout the day. I was folding laundry when I overheard Ethan singing this one:

Yo Ho, the mistletoe, home where you can see
Somebody waits for you, kick her once for me!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feeling Von Trapped

So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye - Burbanmom attempts to climb ev'ry mountain and become an upbeat, singing governess / postulant. Or something like that.

Ya know, when I started my Going Green Blog in June of 2007, it was simply a way to keep myself accountable. I wanted to ensure that I finally did something more than just lament the state of our planet and instead tried to "be the change I want to see in the world". And so I emailed a bunch of my friends and family and said, “Hey, I’m going to green my life and I’m going to write about the changes I make so you all can see what I’m doing and encourage me. Alternatively, if I stop posting, you can get on my ass about being a lame-o quitter”.

And so I made one change every day toward a greener lifestyle and chronicled that change on my blog. And my mom or sister would call me and we'd talk about the change I'd made, or my other sister would leave me funny notes in the comments section and I'd tell her she was a dork. It was all very comfortable. Too comfortable. Odds are I would get bored and quit within a month.

Well, the interwebby is a crazy place and the next thing I knew, perfect strangers were reading about my adventures and offering their support and encouragement - and criticism. Well, now I had an audience and, like Mary Martin, I love to perform. Now there was no way to stop it and so I continued making my changes and I also made a bunch of online friends (including a lonely goatherd) and learned even more about environmental causes.

But now sixteen - going on seventeen - months later, I feel like I have reached my initial goal of become a more ecologically responsible person. I am happy with the changes I've made and I have transformed from a "keeping up with the Joneses" suburban soccer mom to a much more mindful consumer. In short: I'm about as green as I'm gonna get.

Now don't get me wrong - if money starts falling from the sky and I can finally afford to put solar panels on my house or install an on-demand water heater - you can bet your sweet ass I'll do it - after all, these are a few of my favorite things. But as far as making the daily changes - that's it. I'm finished. el finito. Do-Re-Mi-Done.

Also? Too? I just can no longer commit to the time necessary to blog. I am heading back to college - starting today, in fact - wish me luck! I am also looking forward to working on the new environmental committee in our subdivision (did I ever mention that they DID pick me to serve?!?!). On top of all that, I have given up my CSA in favor of a 20’x20’ garden plot at a local county park. And I'm pretty sure I still have two little kids running around here somewhere... hmmmm.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm done writing online about eco-issues and will now begin introducing my wacky lifestyle to those in my “proximity community” as opposed to the “interwebby community”. Hopefully, they’ll be as accepting as the wonderful people I have met online.

But I doubt it.

So keep on keepin’ on. You guys have been a great support during the past year and a half and I appreciate all the kind words, criticisms and conversations we have had. Thank you all.

Much love, respect and admiration,

Erin AKA Burbanmom

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wow, I can't believe it's almost Christmas - my favorite Holiday of the year! And even though I'm an environmental atheist, I still celebrate in style. And so does my Santa....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here....

But hot diggity jingle bells, December is one BUSY month! I'm volunteering at preschool tomorrow with the kiddos' music teacher. I'm helping her get the little ones ready for their big Christmas concert. SUPER-DUPER-LOTS-O-FUN! I can't wait!

But, tomorrow is Monday so I had a post due. I got it all done tonight, though, so I don't have to feel any pressure tomorrow, I can just jam out to "Away in a Manger" all morning! :-)

Anyhow, the post I did is for the December APLS Carnival and the topic is "Our Children Are Our Greatest Natural Resource". Check it out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Green Beauty Guide Book Review

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a new enviro-book authored by Julie Gabriel, entitled The Green Beauty Guide. The book is touted as an "essential resource to organic and natural skin care, hair care, makeup and fragrances" and boy, does it deliver.

Julie has done tons of research on the toxicity of women's beauty products and has managed to summarize the information into one very thick, handy reference manual. I read the 350+ pages like a novel and learned a lot of information. However, I think I will find its real value as I refer back to it whenever I'm searching for (or helping my friends find) less toxic beauty products.

The book is laid out very intuitively. Julie begins by discussing the nature of skin and offers a little biology lesson on how this very large organ works. Don't worry though - it's not the heady stuff of biology 101, it's simplified explanations with descriptive analogies. It makes you truly understand how what we put on our skin becomes part of our own bodies.

She then goes on to discuss some of the more toxic and most commonly-found chemicals that are in many of our beauty products. She discusses the specific toxicology of each item and references various studies that have shown the damaging affects of these supposedly benign ingredients.

And just when you're starting to lose hope that you'll ever be able to use any beauty products again, she throws you a lifeline. She teaches you how to read ingredient labels, what to look for and, more importantly - what to avoid. Not just an alphabetical listing, she gives you the knowledge you need to decode the often incomprehensible labels on drugstore beauty products. She then goes through and defines various industry terms such as organic, bio-dynamic, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, non GMO, fair trade, and natural.

My favorite part of the book is the DIY beauty section. Julie shares with us many secrets about how we can create our own, personalized, 100% natural skin care products - right in our own kitchens. Turns out it's a lot less expensive than buying the fancy green products currently on the market. And it can be a lot of fun too. I've already experimented with a few recipes and am excited to learn that tea tree oil is apparently just what the doctor ordered for my recent outbreaks. Hallelujah, Julie!

The remaining chapters in the book target specific beauty products including cleansers, toners, facials, moisturizers, sun protection, body care, hair care, baby care, makeup, fragrances and finally a beauty detox program. Each chapter discusses the correct use of the product (never knew I was supposed to double-cleanse each night, did you?), what to look for in a good product, some recommended products if you're looking to buy off-the-shelf and some cool recipes if you're thinking about whipping up your own solution.

Julie also includes an extensive list of recommended resources as well as a list of 100 toxic cosmetic ingredients you don't want in your beauty products (and why). It's kind of like having the EWG's Cosmetic Safety Database right in the palm of your hand - and it's portable enough to take to the drugstore with you!

This is a great book. It may not be the enthralling page-turner you want to take with you on your next cruise, but it's definitely a book you'll want to take with you to Walgreens. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is sick of buying beauty products, only to get them home and find out it's all full of toxic crap. The $16.95 you'll pay for the book will more than pay for itself with the time and money you save searching for truly safe alternatives to Suave and Revlon.