Spritzer Leyba Out and About Journal

Easy steps to be more eco-conscious (part 2) April 29, 2007

Evidently, David and I are even hotter than we thought because we're ecosexuals.

    "Ecosexual: n. A person who's into hybrid cars, low energy lightbulbs, and recycling. Now that environmentalism is hot, ecosexuals are getting increasingly fashionable." (Defined by Wired Magazine; learn more at Treehugger and SF Magazine.)
You know you want to be one too.

+ Switch to recycled
Recycled toilet paper, toothbrushes, aluminum foil, computer paper, garden hoses, pencils, clothing, mouse pads, printer supplies, crayons, trash bags, etc. If you are adverse to cloth towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs, buy recycled paper towels, napkins, and facial tissue.
"If every household in the U.S. bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons of fresh water, and save 988,000 trees." [via link]

+ Bring your own grocery bags
Many grocery stores will even credit you 5 cents for each bag you bring in!
"This is common practice in virtually every other country but our own. The U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags annually, consuming about 12 million barrels of oil [with] less than 1% of plastic bags are ever recycled, using a sturdy reusable bag will eliminate hundreds to thousands of plastic bags over its lifetime." [via link]

+ Encourage plants to clean up
Certain plants can help remove air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide and are excellent at cleaning up indoor air pollution. The top 10 plants most effective in removing these toxins from the air are: Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifritzii), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Modestum), English Ivy (Hedera Helix), Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii), Janet Craig (Dracaena "Janet Craig"), Marginata (Dracaena Marginata), Mass Cane/Corn Plant (Dracaena Massangeana), Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Sansevieria Laurentii), Pot Mum (Chrysantheium morifolium), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa"), and Warneckii (Dracaena "Warneckii"). [via link]
Don't have a green thumb? Golden pothos, English ivy, and peace lilies are all easy-to-grow toxin fighters.

+ Double up on printing
Configure your printer so that it prints on both sides of the page or simply put your printed pages back in the printer to reuse the other side. Download these signs to post in your office around copiers and printers to help reduce paper use.

+ Unplug it
Unplug your cell phone charger and hairdryer when not in use. They continue to guzzle energy even when plugged in and turned off. Alternatively, plug everything on a power strip and use the switch to turn it off instead of manually plugging and unplugging things).
"If 10 percent of the world's cell phone owners did this, it would reduce energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that used by 60,000 European homes per year." [via link]


I absolutely LOVE how the recent new-fangled trend of eco-awareness and the Earth has given you every right to say "But I've been saying all of this for years" and the fact that you get to shine as THE expert in the middle of all this. Living in Europe has totally "forced" me to conserve and save energy. Love the ideas and postings....keep it coming!!

Posted by Christina on May 6, 2007

Eco-fabulous books April 27, 2007

+ 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth
+ Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth/25th Anniversary
I was ten years old when I read these books and they changed my life. Through them I learned that being environmentally aware is easy and that it doesn't take much to make a difference on a local scale. They also set the stage for my decision to become an environmental scientist... If you haven't already, read them!

+ Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
"Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete." I haven't read this book yet, but I'm on the waiting list at our library.

+ An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It
The companion guide to the movie that made global climate change front and center in America.

+ The Healthy Home Workbook: Easy Steps for Eco-Friendly Living
I really like this book. It is organized by room and for each area it lists a variety of environmentally conscious changes for 1. instant gratification, 2. greater commitment, and 3. a truly healthy home. So you'll feel good if you make just a few simple changes and helps you set goals for more long-term eco-friendly projects.

+ Silent Spring
This book by Rachel Carson launched the global environmental movement. Required reading.

Should things continue not to go well, there is always The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition... But let us hope it doesn't come to that.


Easy steps to be more eco-conscious April 23, 2007

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money." - Cree Native American Proverb

In celebration of Earth Day, I've decided to little "save the earth" features this week. So, let's start off with easy ways to do our part.

+ Decline your ATM receipts
"Receipts from 8 billion ATM transactions every year are one of the biggest sources of litter on the planet. If everyone left their receipts in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long---enough to circle the equator more than 15 times." [via link]

+ Use cold water
"About 90 percent of the energy used for a load of laundry goes to heating the water. While you may want to wash bed linens in hot water to kill dust mites, opt for washing all other loads in cold -- and save up to $300 and 330 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year." [via link]

+ Switch your light bulbs
Replacing just one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year [via link] and now you can purchase a variety of different full spectrum and natural looking CFL bulbs. "If every family replaced one bulb with a CFL it would be like reducing carbon emissions from 800,000 cars." [via link]

Stay tuned for lots more tips over the next few days...


It would be awesome if you could find some statistic on cigarette waste. That was a huge thing when I worked in water quality - cigarette butts people throw out the window or drop on the ground end up washing down the stormdrains into the ocean and all that stuff in cigarettes ends up contaminating the water. Yuck. Not to mention, it's better for our health and the air quality to not smoke too! And then there's the part about possibly starting fires, which some folks I suppose could argue are needed for natural cycles, but are clearly wasteful when you burn down houses and other buildings (leading to lots of nasty pariculates in the air as well as wasting perfectly good materials that require replacement). I could go on...

Posted by Beth on April 23, 2007

Every Day is Earth Day April 22, 2007

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." - From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

There has been so much press about Earth Day and hype about green living recently in the news. All I can say is it's about time! My passion and commitment to protecting our planet began in nursery school when I declared that I no longer wanted to eat meat and has grown exponentially since then. I've been waiting over twenty years for an eco-conscious identity to develop here in America and I really hope that day is upon us.

Today is Earth Day. Because David and I feel that honoring and caring for the earth is important every day--not just on Earth Day--we decided to begin, rather than end, our Earth Week today. This week we shall present you with practical tips designed to show that being eco-conscious is really easy. As far as we are concerned, there is no excuse for not looking forward...


Spritzer loves April 20, 2007

+ simply divine french lavender lotion
+ phone calls with ranni
+ gluten-free blueberry pancakes:

+ wildlife sightings
+ hands in clay
+ cool nights with the windows open
+ strawberry, mango, rhubarb crisp
+ late-night rain storms
+ curling up with a good book


Here comes the basil April 19, 2007

I've been so busy this week with our daily 4-mile runs, volunteering at Luther Burbank's house, doing homework for my Japanese ceramics class, and rereading several of my favorite Anne McCaffrey books, that I've had little time to hop on the net. It's actually been a very nice break. I love filling my time with plants, books, and art.

Look! Our basil seeds are sprouting! We've got a couple more days until the cilantro and mint surface. A couple more weeks and then it will be transplant time. Look at the overcrowding that is already beginning! I am in biology heaven.

It's almost Earth Day so stay tuned for our eco-conscious Earth Week coverage starting on Sunday...


Yay for Earth Day! Can't wait to enjoy your posts for "Earth Week"! I've started out my lessons with my students this week by discussing how Earth is the only planet in our solar system with life...Precious and valuable. And why? Because we have water & air. And doesn't it make sense for us to keep our precious water and air clean? Of course young children see the easy logic in this! That just makes sense! Then we talk about recycling, reusing, and conserving.

Carrie -- this reminds me of when you were in elementary school and how you had such a clear, strong voice on these issues - including your wonderful environmental newspaper you put together yourself, filled with facts & good ideas!

I love you!


Posted by Mom on April 19, 2007

Ducklings & spices all in a row April 16, 2007

Yesterday David and I saw a mother duck lead her 10-15 ducklings across a very busy street at a crosswalk by the park. Luckily traffic stopped and the ducks made it across safely. The mother duck then led her babies right by us (we were about three feet away!). The little ducklings were darling -- yellow and brown, and they walked as pairs in a column behind their mother. Cute little ducklings all in a row. I immediately thought of my father (we used to love reading those baby animals themed children's books together) and, of course, wished I had my camera. It was a heart-stopping, wonderful moment. Yes, I am ever the biologist, but who wouldn't fawn over baby ducks?!

After that cute story, the rest of my post -- about organizing our kitchen -- seams trivial, but here goes... I've been doing some spring cleaning and organizing around here. One of my recent projects is transferring our bulk spices into something other than little ziplock baggies and identifying them with computer printed labels. So, each time we go through another jar of jam from Trader Joe's, I set up another spice. Don't they look pretty and organized?!

When I took the picture on the left I realized that the colors of the cayenne, cinnamon, mustard, and allspice perfectly matched the onion and pineapple gluten-free pizza that I had just pulled from the oven (photo on the right). I didn't even plan it!


How fantastic! Gluten-free pizza? I love the way you don't make yourself miserable doing without foods stoicly, but enjoy new recipes for old favorites and enjoy eating them! You are so creative!


Posted by Mom on April 19, 2007

Bye bye sunglasses April 12, 2007

Left: Road trip to Moab, Utah, in August of 2002. Right: October 2006 trip to the California coast.

My beloved sunglasses are officially broken beyond repair. The plastic rim has snapped and the superglue that resurrected them numerous times before no longer works.

A gift from my parents in 2002, they have traveled with me from New Jersey to Arizona for grad school, across the country a year later for graduation in New York (and another cross country trip for my family to meet David), back to New Mexico, then up to Colorado for three years, and finally all the way here to California. They even traveled with us to Mexico for our honeymoon!

I have worn them nearly every single day for the past five years (our five year anniversary would have been next month). I really, really love these babies and I am so sad that they are broken. I guess it's time to start saving up for a new pair...

Oh, and try to get rid of my raccoon-eyed tan in the meantime!
(It is so bad.)



I have to hand it to you for being able to hold onto those babies this long. I have never had a pair of sunglasses last more than a few months without breaking, getting squashed, getting lost, or getting lost, then squashed, then found again. That's why I never spend more than $10 on sunglasses, more often $5. :-p

Enjoy letting the rays soak through, for now. :)

I'm housesitting this week and taking care of a sweet dog. Spending lots of random time on the net alone in this cozy cape codder in belle mead, nj.


Posted by Aviva on April 13, 2007

Jalapeño time April 10, 2007

Gardening season is upon us! Yesterday I headed down to our neighborhood nursery, which happens to sell only organic plants and natural growing supplies. Pure heaven! I exercised such restraint and walked away with only organic potting soil, a small jalapeño pepper plant, and herb seeds (basil, cilantro, mint). This year I will be gardening mostly over at Luther Burbank's house.

In honor of our darling pepper plant, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite jalapeño dishes. It's super simple, very versatile, and just delicious.

Spicy Mango Salsa
Adapted from Peter Berley's Fresh Food Fast (a fabulous cookbook)

    2 ripe mangos or 1 bag frozen mango, peeled and diced
    ½ cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or orange juice
    3 tablespoons minced red onion (we tend to use more!)
    1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds, minced
    1 ¼ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Pinch of coarse sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients; mix to combine. Serve with black beans, enchilada casserole, on top of nachos, with seared fish or tofu, or whatever else sounds good to you!


Looks wonderful!

Posted by Kenny on April 15, 2007

More family photos April 9, 2007

I thought it would be fun to show you photos from my mother's side of my family (for photos from my dad's side, visit the February archives). My uncle recently scanned lots of family photos and I've had such a great time pouring over them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Left: My grandmother Florence Leff (at age 6) in 1937 outside of her dad's store in Morristown, NJ.
Right: My grandmother at Prospect Park (NY) during high school.

Left: My great-grandmother Minnie at the beach (on the right).
Right: Driving around Camden, NJ in my great-grandfather Ezra's car in 1923.


Pictures from David's trip April 8, 2007

David had a fantastic time in Tokyo. Delicious food, interesting new things, good company.

Check out those thousands of paper cranes left as an offering! Reminds me of our thousand paper cranes at our wedding (folded by David and I with the help of family and friends)! I especially like the blooming cherry trees everywhere. Just beautiful!


Wow - David, what an amazing trip! The photos look fantastic! I've always wanted to go to Japan... my dad, his brother and wife Claire (who Carrie is named for)were avid gardeners, and they especially loved Japanese gardens. Dad built a Japanese garden on the side of our property, with large wooden arch entry, bamboo and symbolic gravel-stone paths... Also the food pics certainly look good too!


Posted by Jackie on April 15, 2007

Across the Pacific April 5, 2007

Tomorrow David comes home from a last-minute, week-long business trip to Tokyo. For him, oddly enough, he'll be home later today (gotta love those time differences!).

While he's been gone, I've slept in late every day and occupied myself with all sorts of fun activities: lots of reading outside in the sunshine, dips (and laps) in the pool, time spent cooking my favorite comfort foods, and watching oh-so-many movies (pretty much a five-day movie marathon of chick flicks!).

I also visited San Francisco with Christana earlier in the week. We toured the de Young museum, photographed beautiful flowers in Golden Gate Park, savored cheap Chinese food, and met up with Sellayel and Sean for tasty treats down in Little Italy (so fun!).

Today I read several design magazines at the beach. Tomorrow I volunteer at LBH&G.

Yeah, I lead such a tough life.

The biggest surprise of this week is how much David and I have been able to talk on the phone. We've talked over an hour a day, every day since he left on Sunday and we've both felt like we've had quality time with each other. I feel totally in the loop and less left behind (last-minute trip = expensive airfare = I couldn't tag along!). Not only that, but we have been chatting every day FOR FREE thanks to the beautiful internet chat service that is Skype.

So, yes, I've had a good week, but I cannot wait for him to get home. I want him to hold me close for a couple days. Thank goodness for weekends together.

Have a good one!


Week of Design (Day 7) April 1, 2007

This post concludes our Week of Design. Please leave a comment if you would like to see more "theme weeks" here on our blog. We'd also appreciate any theme suggestions you may have as well... Thanks for joining us this week and stay tuned for lots more journal goodness coming your way soon.

And, finally, here are some parting night shots...

Btw, welcome to April! (Check out our new design for the month.)
Some fabulous April Fools Day related posts: MuggleNet reviews 'Deathly Hallows', The April Fools' Day Defense Kit, and Strollerderby gems Organic Foods Found to Be Poisonous for Children and New Study: Everything Is Harmful To Children.


What, only one week of design? Keep going! :)

There's an article in the June 2003 issue of DWELL that features a pebble garden with a mahogony-style walkway that I think you'd like. (Can you tell I've been assembling a similar notebook?)

Posted by Geoffrey Long on April 4, 2007

Finally got to read your week of design! What a fun idea!

Doing all my recreating in the last 2 days before school starts again! Laura went back to Kenyon this morning and we begin the countdown to graduation now! Can't wait to see BOTH you and David! Welcome home David!


P.S. Which is brad pitt's fireplace? I'm guessing the first pic, all black!

Posted by Mom on April 8, 2007

"...if I have my way, I'm never gonna leave Lemon Grove Avenue" sings Mason Jennings from the Pandora radio I just pulled up on FF> I always find the greatest tidbits on your site! :) But it certainly makes me a little er....envious of your california lifestyle - NJ just doesn't have lemon and avocado trees...but hey, it's still home for now.

ANyhow I loved your design theme week! Too cute! And who knows, with all those pix, you just might manifest it (have you seen the movie "The Secret"?)

I esp love the house in the upper right corner, looks like something I saw and loved in Dwell.

Take care, hugs and sweetness**


Posted by AvIvA on April 12, 2007

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