Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Bicycle That Goes Honk

Once upon a time, there was a couple who loved to ride bikes together. They enjoyed riding to local events, going for leisurely evening rides, going on snoball rides and laughing along the way. Because their city still isn't fully bike-friendly (aka drivers can't handle bikes on the road), safety is always a concern.

And so bike accessories became a logical choice for both Christmas and holiday gifts for the girl to give the boy. It started with a Bluetooth speaker/alarm/headlight and a PortlandDesignWorks tail-light (also supporting 1% for the Planet).

The stakes were raised with the latest gift.

We found the LoudBicycle sometime last year through Kickstarter and were intrigued by the idea of having a car horn equivalent on our bicycles. Because let's face it, ain't no car gonna hear our bike bells as they're pulling out in front of us.

Anytime I would ask for gift ideas, the LoudBicycle would be floated as a suggestion, but production schedules would have required a very long wait.

Oh not this year, my friends. The LoudBicycle was in stock and available to ship within two weeks. It even arrived sooner than expected (although still after the man's birthday, because I should probably have not waited until three days before to order it!) And it's not like I had many other ideas for gifts.


The look on his face was positively gleeful once he realized what was in the box. He excitedly opened it, connected the trigger button to the horn and proceeded to scare the ever-living shit out of my cat. (Milo recommends that you do not sound the horn inside the house.)

The horn is a larger device that reminds me of either a ram or a gramophone that's installed on the front tubes of your bike. It's connected by a wire to a button you push with your thumb, and it's long enough to reach your handlebars. The horn battery is charged via mini USB cable, but it lasts a long time on a single charge. Provided you don't abuse the power and lean on the button for your entire ride.

And this sucker is LOUD. Hilariously, obnoxiously loud. Make-the-dogs-bark loud. I-could-hear-my-fiance-two-blocks-away loud. But that's what makes it perfect. And it sounds legitimately like a car horn. Not a sad imitation, not a bike horn, and not an annoying sound like some others might produce.


We went for a bike ride on a recent non-rainy evening, mostly so he could test out his new toy. In addition to giving a friendly honk to some front porch friends, the horn actually came in handy for the purpose it's meant to serve. As we came up to the exit of a parking lot, we saw a car approaching that did not look like it intended to stop.

One nice honk of the horn from the man, and that car stopped. in. its. tracks. I'm sure a few obscenities were yelled in the car since there were no others around, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

But we didn't get hit.

So, within a day of the horn arriving, I consider it having paid for itself.

Best birthday gift EVER. A perfect way to bring National Bike Month to a close.

Check out LoudBicycle's product video!

HONNNNK.

(Not a sponsored post.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Less Toxic Manicures


Ah, nail polish. Admittedly an obsession since I was approximately 12 years old. I love a good color, and my bathroom cabinet might just look like a nail salon's.


But beyond a good color, what's IN your nail polish?
  • Formaldehyde, a hardening agent and carcinogen
  • Toulene, which helps distribute color evenly
  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer that prevents polish from chipping
  • Formaldehyde resin
  • Camphor
EESH. While these toxins help to give you that Instagram-ready manicure, inhaling these chemicals could lead to developmental defects and cause damage to your nervous system and the environment over time. And if you visit a nail salon, you're breathing in these chemicals in even stronger quantities.


Some nail polish brands have nearly 30 chemicals all combined. (EcoWatch) Breathing in these chemicals at high exposures has been associated with respiratory problems, reproductive effects and even cancer. (EPA) The chemicals also cause your nails to become brittle and absorb the harsh fumes. Why would you want that absorbing into your nails and skin?

Before you come at me with a nail file and sign your nails away to an unpolished life, read on to find out alternatives!



Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Today is not about sales, the beach or three-day weekends. At least, it should not be.

"Happy Memorial Day" seems like such a weird thing to say when we're remembering the American soldiers who have died while fighting for our freedom. I recently listened to a former Navy Seal speak on some of his experiences and the type of work did, and the things he talked about really put it into perspective for me. Having to be on top of your game, both physically and mentally, because everything is life or death, and not knowing whether you are seeing your loved ones for the last time as you go off on another mission? The danger and the unknown that soldiers face every day is not something I could even fathom. I mean, really. I work a desk job and write a blog on eco-friendly living. My days are stupid easy compared to what soldiers face while deployed. But I know that my easy life is possible because of the sacrifices of our soldiers. And that's not something I - or any of us - should ever take for granted. Without them, there wouldn't be silly Memorial Day sales or Bubba Kegs on the beach for a long weekend.


Whether you are working or not, take a moment today to thank everyone who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Somewhere, those fallen soldiers leave behind their own families and children, and Memorial Day means something truly different to those families.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Namaste Right Here In Savasana Pose a Little While

My yoga journey started off pretty slow. Although I've spent many evenings at the gym for classes or other workouts over the years, my trips to the yoga room were few and far between.

My main reason for not falling into a yoga routine was simply because I wouldn't allow myself to relax enough to understand the point. My brain tends to not turn off, an anxiety is one of my worst assets. A relaxing yoga class? Yeah, I was too worried about having the right form and position. But on those extra stressful days, I would venture to yoga instead of another class and attempt to relax.

This year, I set one of my new year's resolutions to practice more yoga. It helped that around the time, I discovered my gym's yoga and meditation class. Want to turn the brain chatter off? Sit still in a calm room for 20 minutes, listening to the teacher read meditations. It did the trick, and I started to become hooked.

What I love so much is how it lifts my mood, calms the anxiety or stress, fixes me and recharges me, without needing medicine or anything else. It's helping me get into a more natural place, be more in tune with my brain and myself and just remind me to step back and relax more.



I started incorporating yoga class into my gym routine a bit more often and really enjoy the change of pace. Usually, I enjoy a good class to help wind down after the day, but I took advantage of the weekly 6 a.m. class once. Now, I am NOT a morning person. Waking up at 6:30 is a huge accomplishment in my eyes. Waking up in time to be awake, get dressed and out the door, to the gym and up to the yoga room? I'm pushing myself to the limits! (My secret trick? Lay out the gym clothes and pack the work clothes the night before! Bonus points for putting them IN the bathroom, ready to go.)

 I've even attempted to bring yoga practices into my office and house...although, admittedly, I've kind of forgotten about that. But there were a few nice weeks where I would do a few stretches in the middle of the day in my cubicle to get the blood flowing again and stretch my legs. And there were about three mornings where I would get up 15 minutes earlier, go into our back office, and do a few sun salutations. I should probably get back to doing that, especially since I've been feeling pretty scattered for the past few weeks. (Note to self: Keep the yoga up especially when busy!)

I always could do the poses, but now I'm learning the names and how they benefit the body and spirit. I love that when I'm stressed out or frazzled, I make it a point to attend the next yoga class, and really set my mind in the practice. My favorite is still yoga and meditation, since I do yoga more for the mental break than the physical stretching.

This past Monday evening, I was feeling very in need of some meditation and made myself go to yoga class, and it was one of those classes where everything fell into place and made extra sense. Pushing myself harder into downward dog while doing sun salutations. Really focusing on the breathing. Relaxing everything during guided meditation. Losing myself somewhere during savasana pose, then coming back to hearing the song lyrics again. It was the perfect necessary recharge.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCgQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amc.com%2Fshows%2Fmad-men&ei=eLRaVfPREMiCyQS9h4CACw&usg=AFQjCNHzGcfVGz14PHbRHvDqqkyJu520rQ&bvm=bv.93564037,d.aWw

This week, I also said goodbye to one of my all-time favorite shows, Mad Men. Having started a career in advertising out of college, there were too many times I related to Peggy to even count. Even after I left the agency life, the show went on and we got closer to the end, but Don's fate wasn't quite predictable. Of all the situations Don has been in, I'm pretty sure his last scene, on a mountain, in a yoga pose, chanting oms, is the last I expected to see.

Finding that inner peace through yoga and then possibly creating one of the most memorable ads of all time? Don, now you're REALLY speaking my language!

But I won't lie to you, his final scene inspired me to get my butt to yoga the next day.

Also, I am officially adding mountainside yoga to my bucket list.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Re Re, Cycle Cycle!

It's the Cajun Heartland State Fair! GO GO! FUN FUN!


Are you singing the song in your head yet? You're welcome!

The Cajun Heartland State Fair, held annually at the CAJUNDOME around Memorial Day, is a popular family event. I remember going every year to celebrate the end of the school year, ride some rides, and get an awful sunburn or two. Once I got older, the fair turned into the place to hang out to watch local and visiting bands. It was especially fun when the last day of the fair would coincide with my birthday!

It's also traditionally a very messy event. But the 27th annual Cajun Heartland State Fair has got something new up its sleeves. Thanks to the efforts of the CAJUNDOME, Project Front Yard, Coca-Cola and Republic Services, recycling will be available throughout the fair grounds!

http://replygif.net/765

You'll have no excuse to litter your drink cans or bottles! Simply toss them into the clearly marked recycling bins, do your part to keep the fair clean and green, and show others that you care. Remember to only throw aluminum cans and plastic bottles in the recycling bins. Food, styrofoam, napkins and other items belong in the trash bins, which are also conveniently located all over the fair grounds.

No matter what your trash is, it does not belong on the ground! Don't be lazy and expect someone to clean up behind you.


In addition to recycling availability, fair organizers are working with Republic Services to provide recycling for fair staff during setup and tear-down.

“We find that majority of the trash comes from the fair move in and move out, so having Republic Services provide recycling services during these peak times will help decrease the amount of landfill waste the fair creates,” says Heidi Champagne, Marketing Director for the CAJUNDOME.


Check out the Cajun Heartland State Fair when it opens to the public this Thursday, May 21, until Sunday, May 31.

For event times and daily ride specials, visit the Cajun Heartland State Fair website. You can get advance discounted tickets through May 22 at 5:00 at participating area Shop-Rite locations! Advance wristbands are also on sale now at the CAJUNDOME Box Office.

https://www.facebook.com/projectfrontyard

If you head out to this year's Cajun Heartland State Fair, do your part to make it the cleanest one yet! Recycle your bottles and cans and don't litter anything!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Snacks to Feel Good About | Raw Revolution

When I was offered the chance to sample Raw Revolution Glo bars, I jumped at the opportunity. A bar made with organic, vegan, gluten-free and non GMO ingredients? Of course I'll try it!

Health and wellness are another big focus of mine, and in my quest to lead a more natural life, food comes into play. While I no longer have a meatless diet, I focus on healthier, more whole foods in cooking and in snacking. Especially when it comes to snacks I can keep at my desk, I want something that will make me feel better, rather than sluggish in the afternoons.

What intrigued me about Raw Revolution was their company style. They're a woman-owned business, and founder Alice Benedetto is a registered nurse and natural foods chef. All the bars arevegan, gluten-free, kosher, dairy-free and non-GMO.



http://www.rawrev.com

When I got my samples in the mail, I was excited to see a variety of Mixed Nuts, Caramel and Sea Salt; Creamy Peanut Butter and Sea Salt; and Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt bars.

Each of the three bars have a very good flavor to them. They're filling, without making you feel overloaded. Not too salty, not too sweet, and not too vegan-tasting. And that's what's important, right? There are so many vegan snacks available, and they all sound tasty, but end up tasting like cardboard. These bars actually taste like food!


Admittedly, I'm not the hugest fan of peanut butter, but I was open to trying it in these bars. Also admittedly, I am a huge fan of sea salt mixed with sweet items. A dark chocolate bar with sea salt sprinkles? I am all over it. I was especially excited to try the Raw Revolution dark chocolate, peanut butter and sea salt bar. It's still my favorite one of the three. The chocolate was softer and melted in my mouth, which was a great complement to the other flavors. The peanut butter in all of the bars wasn't overwhelming, so I enjoyed it more.

They're a perfectly sized pick-me-up snack that leave me feeling full and healthy.

In our house, I am more of a foodie hippie, compared to my fiance. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found him going into the pantry and grabbing a bar, without complaining that it was hippie vegan food. In fact, when I went to the pantry to grab the remaining few bars that I thought were still in there, I found someone had taken them as travel snacks for his recent trip to San Francisco. Maybe I was a little bummed that I had no photography props, but I was more excited that they were so well-received in the house.

Raw Revolution Glo bars...my non-vegan fiance loved them!




Where can you find Raw Revolution? Search their store locator, or order online!

I used their store locator feature to find the grocery stores near me, and found Raw Revolution Glo at Vitamins Plus. They carry a large variety of the Glo flavors and regular flavors, and were very well-priced. Win win!
  • Rouses | 601 Bertrand Dr.
  • Rouses | 2900 E. Milton Ave, Youngsville
  • Drug Emporium/Vitamins Plus | 505 Bertrand Dr.
  • Sandra's Health Food Store | 111 Rena Dr.

I received free Raw Revolution Glo sample bars to write about; but all opinions are mine!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why, It's National Bike to Work Week!

Unless you work from home or don't have to work at all, you probably spend most of your driving time and gas going to and from your office. During National Bike Month, one week is dedicated as Bike to Work Week, in order to bring awareness to using alternative transportation on your daily commute (or at least some of the time!)

If you're able, biking to work is a great alternative to driving. Two years ago, my boyfriend and I were both able to bike to work one day during Bike to Work Week because we each lived between three and five miles from our offices at the time, and we got extra exercise in by riding and meeting up for lunch.

How hard is it to do? Not very!


If you live within a few miles from your office, consider taking your bicycle out for a spin one day this week and leaving the car at home.

COMMUTING TIPS

  • Check the weather. If you're hardcore, you can handle a little drizzle. If it's storming, don't put yourself in danger. Plus, you probably shouldn't show up to work looking like a wet dog. If it's going to be hot and sunny, plan your outfit to accommodate.
  • Plan your route. Google Maps has a bike transit option in their directions, or you can use MapMyRide to create a bike-friendly, safe route from your home to work. You'll probably deviate a bit from your road commute, but it'll give you some variety in the morning. You can also estimate the time it'll take to ride using one of the map features.
  • Check in on your bike. It's important to make sure everything on your bike is in proper working order, and get it tuned up if not. And make sure your tires are inflated!
  • Pack your supplies. You'll need a few different things than you normally do. Start with a helmet, because rush hour is an extra scary time to be out on the road. If you don't have a basket or pannier bag on your bike, find a good backpack to keep all your stuff for work. If you leave early in the morning or head home later in the evening, make sure you have proper working lights. Stash an extra pair of shoes, your deodorant, or anything you may need to freshen up once you arrive.
  • Plan your outfit accordingly. Unless you're able to show up to work in bike shorts and sneakers, you'll need to find a movable work-appropriate outfit. Pencil skirts can be too restricting for ladies, and black pants and a button down may be covered in sweat at the end of a ride. Stretchier material is more forgiving during rides. Wear short sleeves or a sleeveless top and bring a jacket or sweater in your bag.
  • Remember your rights and laws. Travel smart and follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists have rights, but you also have a responsibility, and everyone needs to share the road.
  • Figure out your parking situation. Can you leave your bike outside during the day, or will you need to bring it inside? How easy will it be to bring inside? Figure out in advance where you'll be able to safely store your bike for the day. And don't forget your bike lock and key!


Check out the Eco Cajun Guide to Bicycle Commuting to Work posted last year!

Do you plan to commute by bike this week?







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