Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In The News: FDA is Examining food dyes and their potential link to ADHD

Wednesday and Thursday this week the FDA is deciding whether or not to pursue studies of the affects of food dyes and a potential link to hyperactivity in children.  You can read the gist in this post by the LA Times

This is one reason that I am personally very anti-bright colored packaged artificial foods.  They aren’t a necessary part of a healthy diet and I am concerned that there has not been enough research on the additives we put in our foods.  Why eat crap when you can get your essential nutrients from things we know are safe.

I know that some children have food sensitivities to certain food dyes (generally red 40 is a big culprit) and that those dyes can make them hyper or even aggressive.  I am really interested to find out what the FDA decides this week.  NPR has been following the story so hopefully I’ll hear some news on Science Friday during my morning drive to work.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Creating a Home: A Modern Exotic Bedroom

Doc and I are finally settling on a starting point for our bedroom in our new home.  We found this bedroom set at Pier 1 and fell in love.  It’s the Senopati Bedroom Set.



We love the modern clean lines along the edges of the furniture, mixed with the international feel of the mixed textures and deeper wood tones.  This also appeals to my love of anything that has a natural feel to it.



There is also a bamboo component to the set, which is a very eco-aware material to use.  (Unfortunately it is also crafted using Rattan, which is not eco-aware). 



We definitely want to add the headboard and dresser to our wish, but a little bonus I would love to have is the bench that goes along with the set.  I can just picture myself laying out on it reading a book. I know it’s not a very practical piece of furniture, but I still love it!

I already have several “accessories” that match this feel in our home. So we could very easily use bright fabrics or paint colors to liven up the room. 


200th Post

Welp, here we are.  200 posts.  My how the time flies when I’m typing away -

So far this blog has covered earth friendly pregnancies, natural birth, surviving medical school (or rather, Doc surviving and me playing cheerleader), eating more fresh produce, spending time outdoors, growing as a family, green lifestyle adjustments, and many other borderline self-righteous subjects (wink).

Hopefully, this blog will continue to expand in the world of taking baby steps towards a low impact on the earth and high impact on the world around us.

Look forward to these future segments I hope to add in!

Upcoming additions:

Meatless Meals – apparently one of the things being a vegetarian does is drastically decrease your carbon footprint.  In an effort to live greener, we are going to explore meatless meals, like Eggplant Parmesan.  No going straight vegetarian, but trying to introduce delicious meals that can be added in by everyone, even if you love your omnivorous lifestyle.

Creating a Home – with the purchase of our first home, we’ll be attempting to decorate our home and make it a place that is truly a comforting reflection of who we are.  All the while, we’ll try to be green about it.  We plan to enter the realm of DIY most young married couples get to venture out on.

Local Love – I want to start a segment about finding local treasures to support your local economy instead of only relying on megastores and internet shopping.  If you live in the Tulsa area, this will hopefully help.  If you don’t…maybe it’ll give you some ideas about what to explore in your own area.

Thank you readers for your comments over the life of this blog!  I know many of you read but don’t comment very often, which is fine and dandy with me!  Feel free to post requests for topics you’d like to see in the future!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Help Fido Feel Green

Apparently, a medium sized dog leaves a carbon footprint equal to a 10,000 mile trip in a SUV.  WHAT?!?!

CNN recently posted this article explaining ways to green your best friend’s lifestyle to reduce their impact.

Among the suggestions are “duh” ideas like picking up the poo your dog leaves in the city to keep it from contaminating waterways and spaying and neutering your pet.

However, some ideas in here are a bit newer to me.  If you have time, read the whole article as linked above.  If you don’t, read my paraphrase below.IMG_0746

Doggies are carnivores.  Making dog food requires a lot of land usage and it’s heavy so transportation is pretty pricey for the environment as well.  Buy local dog food if you can.  Also, consider making a vegetarian diet for your dog out of locally grown vegetables (consult your vet about how to do this).

Use dog shampoos without sodium lauryl sulfate.

Buy toys and beds made from organic cotton or hemp instead of plastic or synthetic products.

If making your own dogs food sounds a bit ridiculous and you know there are no local dog food brands – try buying dog food that is rabbit or chicken based.  It is less detrimental to the environment to raise rabbits and chickens apparently.

Soon Fido will be feeling like he’s doing his part to save the outdoors!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Because I Couldn’t Help Myself -


A Rare Treat

We don’t catch a lot of breaks together – but we lucked out! 

IMG_1568Doc was given a whole two days off during my Spring Break from school so we had 4 days together!  So we decided to blow this town and go visit some long losts.  So Little Bird, A.C.E., Doc and I hit the road to Duncan, OK, home of the in-laws.

While in Duncan, we had the great fortune to spend some good, quality time with our niece.  Unfortunately, we do not get to see her very often.  The few times we have been able to go see Isabel, there has been an onslaught of family attacking her (she is unbelievably cute). 


So we were able to actually see and spend some time with her! IMG_1570 We wanted to make sure she and Little Bird enjoyed some cousin time too!  The two went out to Peyton’s Place and enjoyed some gourmet spaghetti and grilled cheese.





Of course, such a beautiful meal requires a bath afterwards as well!  Notice that Isa is totally winning the longest hair competition, despite the fact that Little Bird is 6 weeks ahead on time to grow it.


The little girls spent so much time playing together!  I was amazed at how well they did at sharing toys and taking turns.  They’re both very new at it, but no one bit anyone, so success!


On Saturday the two even got to do a photo shoot together!  Even though they were tired from playing so much, both of them had a fantastic time running in the park, rocking in the red chair, and playing with Granny’s big beaded necklaces.  Thanks to Aunt Lisa for taking the beautiful pictures!


Not only did we get to spend time with Granny, Gramps, Isabel, and all 3 dogs from the Fowler Clan, but we also managed to drive on down to West Texas for a little time with our Friend Family the McVays. 

My amazing friend, Bethany, invited us down to their home in Abilene, TX to visit.  Bethany and I met at an incredible job we both landed in college, and have been best friends ever since.  She is one of the most devoted women I have ever met and she can sacrifice with a grace I envy.  You can follow her journey as the wife of an Air Force Pilot here.

Aunt Bethany took us to the Abilene Zoo! 


The 5 Dollar Entry Fee tells you how big the zoo was, but it was certainly worth the 5 bucks!

IMG_1616Aunt Bethany helped Little Bird look at all the snakes, spiders, lizards, frogs, and other creepy crawlies that live in the Abilene area in the local animals exhibit.  You could tell Little Bird loves learning and Aunt Bethany is a natural teacher.  She loved pointing at the animals and exclaiming in delight. 



We also got super close to some very lovey giraffes. 


Here are the giraffes. 





And here we are right next to the fence you can see in the picture above.  They were huge!





Little Bird ran along, pointing at the animals she saw and babbling all about them.  She saw a lot more “dogs” than anything else, but we did see 5 lion cubs (their poor lioness mom).  It was a wonderful day with a wonderful friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Starting Place

I am a bit design bi-polar.  When it comes to fashion, I love the harder rocker type fashions, and I love the soft bohemian dresses.  When it comes to my home, I love bohemian glitz and flare but also really love the look of a clean, rustic lodge.  Add in the fact that Doc likes modern modern modern, and we have three crazy styles to try to combine into something we both love.

For those of you who relate, or those of you who don’t really know what type of style you like – try this.

HGTV has a “What’s My Style” quiz you can take.  You select pictures you like of different rooms and it can give you a great starting point for what to Google image search when idea searching.

When I took it for me, I ended up with “Rustic Charm” and Doc ended up with “Mid-Century Modern”.  After looking over room ideas for both, I retook the quiz looking for something that matched several “likes” for both of us.

Our combined style is a bit more “Asian Zen”.  I think zen-like is a bit more accurate.  We love worldly touches like Hindu statues and Indian accents.  We love natural elements like real flowers and plants, dark natural woods in furniture, and wood flooring.  We also love bright pops of color, earthy tones, and the fresh lines and bedroom198organization of “zen” like rooms.  Here are two bedrooms we like.  They aren’t perfect, but they are a better starting point for us in trying to figure out a fluid look for our home.  We particularly like the cozy look and feel of the orange bedroom with the large leafy wall decal hanging above the bed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dining Room–A Wedding Reminder

After thinking about how we want to arrange and decorate our new home to reflect our family, we decided that our dining room would be a great little room to turn into a nostalgic reflection of our wedding.


Here is the starting room:

Dining room

None of that furniture belongs to us.  Our plan for this room includes removing the carpet and replacing it with bamboo flooring. Painting the walls a mossy sage color.  Similar to Natural Floors by USFloors Locking Bamboo Spice Hardwood Flooring Plankwhat you see in the Five Oaks Lodge picture above on the back wall.  We are thinking we will leave the white curtains (they come with the house). 






We will replace the ceiling fixture with a black iron fixture like this.  And replacing our current table with something nice and dark, sort of like the one pictured below. 

Then we’re going to hang our framed accent pictures from our wedding on the walls and put our black electric piano against the back wall.  I’d love to hang wall vases and fill them with flowers that mimic the flowers at our wedding as well.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Nature Reminds Us That She is Powerful


Today, nature struck Japan in full force.  The videos of the earthquakes made my heart stop and I felt tears welling. 

When I watched a video of the tsunami that followed washing away so many lives, I couldn’t help but cry.  So many lives erased, ruined, or completely destroyed.  So much that people had worked for and built, just flooded into oblivion.  We are so insignificant, so inconsequential, so tiny, so helpless.

I think of children, terrified as they drive away from their homes.  Parents, trying to bravely evacuate what they’ve built. Those who could not evacuate, knowing what was coming and that they would not escape. I simply cannot imagine, and I hope my family never knows something of this devastation. 

My thoughts and wishes are with those who have lost ones they loved and with those who must start over.  May they find peace.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Speaking of Paint…

When you want to “go green” and paint your house here are the best options I have researched so far.  Basically, what you are looking at is VOC levels.

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound.  You can read about it on VOC levels.  The basic concern is that the VOC is still released long after you paint, despite if you can smell paint fumes or not.  The scariest thing to me is that the EPA released a study showing more pollutants inside of homes than outside, regardless of where the home was located.    Guess it’s true what they say about needed “fresh air” from outside! 


Anyway, the paints that I’ve seen recommended online are as follows:


From Benjamin Moore – Natura paintsnatura

These contain zero VOC and come in many colors.  You can find it at stores that used to be ACE hardware.  Westlake Hardware in Tulsa carries it.




Olympic Paints

olympicThis is the only paint that contains zero VOC that I know of and is sold in a nation wide chain store.  These can be found at Lowe’s and at Home Depot.  You can get the zero VOC paint in any color Olympic has.




From Sherwin Williams – GreenSuregreensure

This mark is found on paints that contain low or zero VOC.



I’m not sure about pricing on these products yet.  I’m sure they are slightly more expensive.  Most likely, we will be using Olympic because of the color availability that goes along with it, so I’ll price it for you when I get to buy it and paint my new home in a few weeks!


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Gypsies Put Down a Down Payment

It’s finally happened.  We have moved every year we have been together.  In the last 6 years, I have moved 8 times.  In April, we are moving – with the intent to NOT move for at least 3 years.

We are now under contract to buy our first home!  We picked out a lovely little cookie-cutter factory made number down in South Tulsa/Bixby.  It has open spaces, clean lines, and neutral paints everywhere.

Don’t worry.

That won’t last long.

Get ready suburbia, the hippies are moving next door.

And don’t worry, I’ve taken the plunge and began putting together decoration ideas for a home I don’t really own yet.


Living Room Inspirations









No more bland wall paint-free environments.  We’re going to liven up our home. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Natural Birth Books


When I was pregnant with Little Bird, there were many books that I turned to when I needed encouragement and confidence.  I knew I wanted a natural birth, but was worried I might not be able to do it, especially with the overwhelming amount of people who seemed to believe it was a bad choice to have a natural birth, or that there was no reason for it.

So here are a few of the books I found encouragement in:


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Really, anything by Ina May is a great book for encouraging un-medicated childbirth.  Her books often feature birth stories.  This book in particular is half birth stories, giving you many ideas of the ways natural childbirth can go.  She does a wonderful job of dispelling fears that your body “can’t do it” and taking some of the fear out of the pain that goes along with it.  She has a very spiritual approach to birth. (See also, Birthing From Within)


The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth

This was my favorite.  It goes through different interventions, their risks, and ways to avoid them if you are not comfortable with it.  When I read it, I did not find that it seemed critical of people who decide they are comfortable with interventions and medication, but simply wanted women to be more aware of what to expect.



Husband Coached Childbirth

If you read 3 books, add this one in.  If your husband/birth support person reads one book, this should be it.  It is written by a man who fully believes in a father’s role in the birthing process and he does a wonderful job of exploring what to expect and dispelling fear as well.  This is particularly beneficial if you partner feels like they don’t understand what is expected from them during the delivery of the child.


Other resources:

Doulas in your area will normally have wonderful recommendations.  If you take a child birth class on natural birth, they will often have recommendations or books to loan to you as well.  I was exposed to these books when I took Pure Birth classes from Melissa Morrill at Pure Birth

Books to avoid:

Anything that causes overwhelming fear or makes you think everything ever is wrong with you or your baby.  Pregnancy is stressful enough without reading books that feed into the natural fear that goes along with doing something new and life changing.  For me, What to Expect was one of those books.  Anytime I read about something that could be wrong with me and baby or could go wrong in labor, I started to feel very panicked.  While I believe this was largely due to having miscarried with my first pregnancy, it certainly wasn’t helpful.  I decided that I would stick to my OBGYN, midwife, and supportive books and felt much more positively about my pregnancy from then on.


Additional Note:

Who has my birth books? I started loaning out my library and cannot remember who had them last!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today, a box arrived at our apartment.






I was a little surprised to see that FedEx had stopped by, but I opened the box anyway.








Inside, what did I spy but….











This phone and its packaging are made from recycled materials!  It is a messaging phone so I can call and text with it.  No smart phone for me.  Not yet. I’m not ready to be so connected to small piece of hardware.

But I love my earth friendly upgrade!  Now I can hug a tree and text about it!