Friday, November 21, 2014

Green Holiday Shopping: A trip to the Green Festival in San Francisco

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

This past weekend I attended the Green Festival that was held in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center. According to their website the Green Festival is:

"a vibrant, dynamic marketplace where companies and organizations come to showcase their green products and services, and where people go to learn how to live healthier, more sustainable lives. [The] Green Festival is America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event. We bring together the world’s most trusted companies, innovative brands, national and local businesses, pioneering thinkers, and conscious consumers in one place to promote the best in sustainability and green living."

I love finding new and innovative companies that are doing their best to be good stewards of our environment. I think this is an especially good time to find new products since we are fast approaching the holiday season. Overall I was very impressed with the amount of vendors and products that were being showcased at this festival. It had a little bit of everything, food, cleaning products, toys, clothing, cosmetics etc. I was also very happy to see a large conscious effort to make sure that all the recycling, compost and landfill items were properly disposed of during the event. (There were a ton of sample cups and products that were being used) There were many wonderful vendors to choose from but I think my favorite new and innovative, environmentally-friendly products were the following:

1. Chicza (

I tried the cinnamon flavor
This cool gum is stated as being "the only 100% certified organic, biodegradable, and sustainable chewing gum." I have heard of a lot of different products turning what they offer into more sustainable and organic etc. but I have never thought about chewing gum. The gum tasted good and lasted a good length of time while I chewed a sample around the festival. I think a biodegradable gum is such a good idea, it means seeing less gum permanently caked to the sidewalks. According to their product info, "once disposed of, its all-natural components will become dust within weeks." I think this would make a great stocking stuffer for the gum lover in your family. It retails for about $1.50 per pack via their online store. Check Chicza out and what they are doing to make your favorite chewing pastime more friendly to Mother Earth.

2. Khordz (
Nothing went to waste, their business card
had extra paracord on it from their mugs

We love reusable coffee mugs in both our On the Leesh offices (In SF & NYC) and we are always looking for cool new mugs to use for our morning coffee.  Dan and Krista, the makers of Khordz, want to help eliminate plastics from the oceans (something we are also passionate about) and so together they created these awesome reusable coffee mugs out of glass, mason like, jars and 25ft of paracord. These adorable mugs would make a great holiday beverage holder. I am thinking your next mug of holiday eggnog would look pretty good in one of these adorable and sustainable mugs. Check them out on their website here: Khordz

Great looking mugs

3. EZ WYP (

These are cool biodegradable, chemical and alcohol-free wet wipes that come in a super small container that goes anywhere. The little wipe comes in tiny tablet form and you just add water when you need one. They have a nifty carrying dispenser that easily allows you to add water to them on the go. It is amazingly small and portable, and the wipes I tried were great for cleaning up my hands after snacking on food samples at the festival. This would make an excellent addition to any purse or diaper bag. You can learn more at: Ez WYP

Ez-wyp booth

4. Green Creativity Kits for Kids.

Our friends from the Monterey Bay Aquarium had a booth at the festival this year. They were doing fun photo booths, taking the time to educate people about getting plastics out of our oceans and about their Seafood Watch program (you can check out the video we did together here to learn more). At their booth they were also selling items featured in their gift shop at the Aquarium. One of these items was the Green Creativity Kits that allow your kid to make all kinds of cool toys, jewelry etc. by recycling discarded products such as plastic bags, newspapers and plastic bottles. The best one I saw was the plastic monster made out of discarded plastic bags. You can buy these kits at the Aquarium's gift shop or you can also find the kits online at places like Amazon. I have two little nieces that will soon be old enough for creative and fun projects kits like these.

Create your own trash monster 

Dr. Bronners Magical All-One soaps
There were of course many other great companies and products at the festival like the good people at Dr. Bronners Magic all-one soaps and a gal from the Holistic Mom's Network (they had a nursing station that I used while I was walking around - much appreciated). I also stopped by the Wholesome Sweeteners booth that carries a line of fair-trade, organic natural sugars. We use their Organic Blue Agave in our office. Here at On the Leesh/What You Can Do, we encourage you to think about your holiday shopping as a way to not only tell your loved ones how much you care them but to use your dollar to help our earth last a little longer.

Happy to see all the recycling going on for sample cups etc.

If you have green/sustainable products that you love and want to share with us - please comment below. We would love to hear from you.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Water Conservation podcasts with the Green Divas and What You Can Do videos on Care2

Jessica Arinella, our What You Can Do creator, joined the Green Divas Radio Show for her first interview in 2009. She has returned as a frequent guest over the years, chatting about topics such as water conservation, light pollution and protecting the rainforest. The fabulous Green Divas share our laid back philosophy on make a difference in the world, and always have fun ideas on how to live a deeper shade of green.

We teamed up with the Green Divas this summer for a series of podcasts on water conservation, one of the topics that inspires our passion and concern. Check out the podcasts on Care2 along with What You Can Do videos:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Dreams for What You Can Do

When applying for the Mission Main Street grants from Chase Small Business - we were asked about our future goals for What You Can Do. The series' journey over the past 5 years has already surpassed our dreams in many ways - from broadcasts on NYC public TV to our amazing community rallying to help causes such as hunger and ocean pollution. After discovering many reasons to embrace hope for our world, we are excited to explore the possibilities for our next chapter. Below are a few of our dreams for What You Can Do - winning this grant would give us the opportunity to spotlight more causes and one minute ways to help change the world:

·   We would love to produce What You Can Do as a 30 or 60 minute television show - the first half of the program would illuminate a social or environmental issue and the second half would show simple ways to help the problem.

·   We think it would be really cool to develop a mobile application so viewers can take the one minute movement with them out into the world.

·   We would love to hit the road and visit some of our favorite organizations across the country, such as Rachel's Challenge in Denver, to learn their ideas for making a difference in our local and global communities.

·   Our team shares a passion for the oceans and marine wildlife, so we hope to produce a short film featuring our footage from visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

·   We are brainstorming ideas to relaunch our web site as an interactive online community - a place where What You Can Do fans can share and learn one minute ways to help change the world.

We would greatly appreciate your support with a vote in the Mission Main Street grants (we need to reach 250 votes to move on to the next round) - you can vote with just a click here:

Thanks to everyone who has joined the one minute movement for inspiring us and making a difference for the issues that matter most.


The What You Can Do team

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The What You Can Do team shares memories of our favorite beaches

As we get closer to the end of summer and prepare to launch our 2nd annual oceans campaign, our What You Can Do team has been thinking about our favorite beaches. We share a few thoughts below about the coastal spots we return to summer after summer, places where everyday concerns disappear in the midst of natural beauty. 

Alicia Arinella, Executive Producer, What You Can Do

My family has been going to Sarasota, Florida for the past 30 years. Although I have a special affinity for the beaches of New England, there really is nothing like stepping into warm water and getting to see down to my toes. What I love most about the ocean in the Gulf is all the different wildlife that I get to see. Growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist, so it's breathtaking to see manatees, dolphins, and sting rays in their own environment. It is remarkable to get to witness the ocean teeming with life. Not only are these beaches a beautiful sanctuary, but they remind me that there is something bigger than myself.  It helps me to put things into perspective and remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Reminds me....I should plan a trip soon.

Alicia and Jessica Arinella

Jessica Arinella, Creator/Producer/Writer, What You Can Do

Marconi Beach in Wellfleet Massachusetts will always be my favorite beach. I grew up vacationing there and many of my favorite earliest memories were formed running down those sand dunes or running from those waves. I've arguably been on more beautiful beaches, and I have certainly swum in warmer water but Marconi will always have my heart.

The Arinella family

Ashley Kaufman, PR/Communications, What You Can Do

Figure 8 Island on the North Carolina coast (near Wilmington) is my favorite beach - I took my first trip there when I was only a few months old. My family has been vacationing at Figure 8 for generations, so I love to spend time with my husband and daughter in a place with so much history. My favorite memories from beach trips growing up are swimming in the ocean for hours, water-skiing on the Intracoastal Waterway and playing Monopoly on rainy days. Now I love to see my daughter splash in tidal pools and build sand castles on the same beach where I did. We get so excited to spot dolphins in the ocean and waterway, and watch signs of the underwater world from the dock. We live in the moment at the beach, planning our days around the tides and weather. Figure 8 is only a four hour drive from our home in Charlotte, but it feels like another world where time slows down and the smell of sea breeze lifts your spirit. 

Ashley and her grandfather

We would love to hear about your favorite beaches!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Missy's Corner: Maternity Clothing Swap

In trying to be a good steward of Mother Earth, I have been doing my best to come up with ways during my pregnancy to be more green and “consume more, buy less” as I like to say.

Pregnancy only lasts 9 months but during that time your clothing needs change so rapidly. What you need at the beginning is not the same as what you need at the end. Clothing can be expensive and it can be especially expensive in the maternity department. I am very fortunate to have many friends whom have already had children and live somewhat close to me. Instead of going out and spending tons of money on a new wardrobe, that I would only wear for nine months, I decided that maybe some of my friends would be willing to lend me some of their old maternity clothes.

Check out our video from What You Can Do featuring ideas about starting a clothing swap.

Sure enough my friends were more than happy to lend me all of their maternity wear. Between three different friends, I now have an entire wardrobe of options that I can use throughout my entire pregnancy. I also have my own small collection to add to the mix. Most of the items I have purchased for my bump have been from thrift stores. It was pretty easy to find oversized shirts and maternity specific wear for a very cheap price if I just took the time to look hard enough. 

I plan on offering my collection up to these same gals (If they have more children) or offering them to other close friends who become pregnant. Maybe it would become something kind of like the "sisterhood of the traveling maternity clothes.”   

This was one of the shirts I got at the thrift store for a couple dollars.
It was not maternity specific but it fit and was inexpensive.  This way
I don't care if it gets stretched out and it didn't break my wallet.
Borrowing and returning clothes only worn by mothers for less than a year has been such a great adventure (and easy on my pocket book). When so many things meant for pregnancy/babies etc. are expensive this is a great way to recycle, reduce and reuse. I have also been trying my best these days to buy gently used or recycled items for my new baby. By cleaning them up and making them usable, I consume more than I buy. Of course this can help keep items out of landfills and reduce our carbon footprint.  

Since sometimes times you can be the first of your friends to have a baby, you might not always have the option to borrow clothes from friends. However, there are many groups on the internet that are all about swapping maternity clothes, baby items etc. etc. Take a moment online to google your local area and see if there are other mothers around you that might be willing to participate in a clothing swap. It can never hurt to take a chance at finding ways to better our green lifestyles.

Since I live in a highly populated, urban area, I am also exploring what my options are for greener ways to live with a baby. More ideas and thoughts to come as I venture into this “baby” journey all while trying my best to be a good steward of the earth. What are some of your green baby ideas? We want to hear from you. Please write comments below!

Until Next time,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Countdown to Summer

With a tough winter behind us (unless you live in Colorado!), we’re dreaming of our favorite things about summer here at What You Can Do. Here are a few reasons we’re ready to trade in our boots for bathing suits: 
  • corn on the cob
  • nautical prints
  • watermelon
  • fireworks
  • family bbqs
  • ice cream
  • long walks
  • potato salad
  • star gazing
  • sunsets
  • sun dresses
  • swimming in the ocean
  • being outside
  • fresh seafood
  • looking for sand dollars on the beach
  • waterskiing
  • backyard games
  • fresh berries
We're kicking off summer with the giveaway of a tray designed by Boris Bally, an artist known around the world for transforming found materials such as recycled street signs and weapon parts. For more info about the artist, visit:

Enter for a chance to win a Boris Bally Pentatray through May 31 at: 

We would love to hear your favorite things about summer!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Missy's Corner: There is still time to do something great for Earth Day.

Next week’s Earth Day is fast approaching (Tuesday April 22nd).  If you haven’t already done so there are still many chances to find and participate in events around the country that will be celebrating Earth Day.  Too busy to participate in a local event?  Make up your own Earth Day celebration activity.  Learn how you can conserve more water during a drought.  Take 20 minutes to pick up trash on the sidewalk or street.  Cut back on your greenhouse gas emissions by walking or carpooling to work or pledge to participate in things like Meatless Monday which can also help your impact on our planet. (You can tweet out or Facebook the Meatless Monday pledge here)  You can also see our WYCD video with Meatless Monday here on youtube:

If you need help finding an Earth Day event here is a good starting list that the Earth Day Network has provided on their website:  For those of you in the New York City or San Francisco areas check out these two great websites for information about their Earth Day programs:  or

The living wall.
Cardboard Recycled Art.
As for my Earth Day celebrations, I have weddings on the next two Saturdays so I couldn’t make a lot of the larger Earth Day events.  Since I knew I was going to miss those I chose to check out a smaller event that happened near me last weekend.  My friend here in San Francisco owns a sustainable and organic granola company that decided to have a booth at the San Mateo Peace Love and Green event in Bay Meadows.  I decided that this was a great way to get out and see what people are doing to celebrate Earth Day and in the process I got to help my friend with her Granola Booth.  The event was small but everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were a lot of kids running around and some great recycled art around the property.  A recycled card board art piece and a large wind chime made of recycled aluminum cans.  They were highlighting a new sustainable living area in the City of San Mateo that is focusing on positive green living, biking, carpooling etc, etc.  It was a great way to get out and celebrate Mother Earth.  They also wanted to show off a very large living wall that is in the center of this new development.

Also on my list to celebrate Earth Day was at the beginning of this month I pledged to help conserve more water, since the state that I live in is currently in a bad drought.  I blogged about my pledge earlier this month.  So far I think I have been doing a pretty good job at not wasting as much water as I had been before.  The easiest one has been my shower usage.  I realized that I really don’t need to take as long a shower as I had been and that if I stay focused and get into the shower as soon as the water is decently warm I don’t get distracted and let the water run for long periods of time.  I also pledged to not run so much water while I do dishes in my sink.  This one has been a harder habit to break.  I am doing much better but I still have to remind my self to not let the water run on the dishes and walk away.  I have also made a larger effort to not leave water glasses half empty lying around my house.  If I do find an old water glass I have been taking it directly to my plants for watering.  This way nothing is going to waste.  Changing your habits is not always easy but with a little practice we can all make little differences each day that can help our plant.

Here is a list of some great ways that you too can conserve more water via Earth Easy:

Remember that it is not too late to get out and help Mother Earth in celebration of Earth Day 2014.


P.S. Don't forget to join our Twitter Chat on Earth Day, April 22nd, at 3pm EST!