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Good read: achieving balance with 'Practically Green'

The best antidote to a blustery autumn weekend is getting cozy with a warm drink, a comfy chair and good book. Thus, I've just finished reading Micaela Preston's book Practically Green. Micaela also writes the popular blog Mindful Momma, and we've gotten to know one another virtually by participating in the Green Moms Carnival. This is a concise and compact book that covers a huge amount of topics, and it's really beautifully laid out with lovely floral motifs throughout. Michaela was kind enough to provide me with a free copy to review. A couple of the things I really like:
  • It has copy and clip guides to help you when shopping, especially decoding all the myriad standards, codes and verbiage that sometimes get slapped on products, leaving shoppers dazed and confused.
  • There are over 30 do-it-yourself projects, from healthy snack recipes, to home-made cleaning and self-care products, as well as ways to refashion past-its-prime clothing into new goods.
  • Insights into how her family of four makes choices and finds the best balance.
What I especially liked about Micaela's book is the grounded-ness of it. She keeps it upbeat when talking of heavy subjects like climate change. She's a proponent of balance, and not beating ourselves up if we can't afford or manage to do everything perfectly 'green.' I have a tendency to focus on my failings and get down on myself, but Micaela reminds us of the important impact we make from any positive green changes we achieve. I also appreciate that she often writes about money savings. There's a fallacy in the marketplace that you have to be rich or at least upper-middle-class to really go green. And when you price things like dual- or triple-pane windows, that appears to be the case. But the many small changes that most people can achieve do add up to money savings, such as with cleaning products. Sure, if you're rich, go ahead and buy all the Mrs. Meyer's product lines. But if you've got a tight budget, you can keep your house clean and toxin free by whipping up your own cleaning products with your arsenal of baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, lemon juice, etc. I've tried a handful of these kinds of recipes, and really like that the ones Micaela includes are the tried-and-true ones that work in her own home. It's the balance: spend time or money. Your choice.

The first time I ever read a reference book about green living, it overwhelmed me. I was like, organic cotton? Huh? Do people eat cotton? I've come a long way in a few short years, but I'd still never recommend that first book, especially to someone newly green. I think Practically Green would be a great reference or starter book for someone wanting to lead their family into a greener lifestyle. It's plain-spoken, optimistic and has many easy and money-saving ideas in it and wouldn't overwhelm the lightest green newby. Practically Green is also a small book, so if you don't copy or clip the included shopping guides, it'd be easy to stick the whole book your purse and bring along. The flipside of the compactness of this book is that is does use a small typeface, so use caution if you're thinking of it for someone who has trouble reading small print.

If you can't wait to get your hot little hands on it, Micaela is hosting a Practically Green virtual book party on her blog this week.


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