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Lansdale, PA

Pet care in Lansdale, PA. Certified in Pet First Aid and CPR through the American Red Cross. Bonded and insured. Supporter of local pet rescue!


Ecofriendly Little Home & Pets Blog

Eco-friendly and earth-conscious features and reviews, pet care tips, and feeding education. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free autoimmune diet musings.  Interested in having your product reviewed here?  Please email:

Filtering by Category: Dog Walking

Dog friendly places to go in and around Lansdale, PA

Christina Ottaviano

The environmentally friendly choice is always to walk, and in Lansdale Borough you can go to several places within reasonable walking distance, while supporting local small business. But why exclude your furry family member in these family excursions? Featured below are several suggestions I recieved from the Citizens for the Revitalization of Lansdale Facebook group when I asked: “What places in our town and surrounding areas welcome dogs?”

Places to eat and drink

Round Guys Brewery: Grab a locally brewed IPA beer, eat brunch, lunch or dinner with a pub style menu. Open 7 days per week, and with outside seating - your dog is welcome to partake in all that is the heart of Lansdale Borough eating.

Blueprint Brewery: Harleysville’s first brewery, offers gluten free and gluten full beer. Dogs are permitted INSIDE the brewery, so head over to Gehman Road and find them in the industrial complex near Christopher Dock, technically Towamencin area.

Well Crafted Brewery: Located by the Lansdale Train Station, this brewery allows you to sip your locally brewed beer outside at tables with your pup.

Lansdale Tavern: Another restaurant offering food and drinks, with tables outside where your sweet friend is welcome to join you.

Stove and Tap: Also featuring outside, middle-of-town seating, the rustic, american style menu features locally sourced ingredients brunch through dinner. Family friendly, there’s a menu for kids, and one for adulty drinks. Their menu appears to feature simplified, whole food ingredients - perfect for someone like myself who can barely eat out due to autoimmune dietary restrictions…

Main Freeze: This walk-up ice cream shop on Main Street in Lansdale is family owned. A perfect spot to walk to with your dog, they serve real Italian water ice in addition to the regular hard and soft ice creams, sundaes, and shakes.

Iron Hill Brewery: This one is in North Wales, and features plain burgers and water bowls for Fido to enjoy while you enjoy seasonal food and drinks.


The Green Fork: Also located in North Wales, and admittedly my personal favorite restraunt in the area because they cater so willingly to my autoimmune diet restrictions. This place has it all, from locally sourced breakfast to lunch, and on some days, dinner as well. Ingredients are all whole foods based, and they have a huge variety of gluten, dairy, and soy free dishes. I had no idea, before I asked, but they also have a doggie-friendly menu!! Extra bonus: half the proceeds of this menu are donated to local dog rescue. You and your dog can be seated at their outside patio, and eat healthy, meals featuring from-scratch, local ingredients and feel good about helping rescue pets, too!

Boardroom Spirits: This local to Lansdale borough distillery offers vodka, rum, and gin. They even have carrot spirits, and beet spirits. Their tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and they welcome you to bring your dog, too. Both indoors and outdoors, year-round, you can sip a fantastic cocktail at a meetup with your local dog club, or just bring your best bud on a date and celebrate all that is booze and dog. (Head on over and see the lit bottles we donated from our Etsy shop when they first moved in!!)

Retail establishments

Comic Zen: Known to have treats for your buddy at the counter! 80’s music helps encourage the vibe, which is a momentary escape from reality.

Scent and Sip: DIY with your dog! Yes, that’s right, dogs are welcome. Scent and Sip offers 25+ items you can custom scent while you BYOB for a fun experience. This would make an awesome fundraising event for a local rescue, too.

Liberty Vapor: Do you vape? Feel like taking a walk to pick up a new flavor? Your furry friend is welcome to join you.

Lori Dudley Wellness, LLC: Need a massage? Head over to relax and unwind with your canine companion. Lori welcomes you to relieve stress and tension, while inviting you to bring your dog with you as well.

Love Obsessed: This gorgeous boutique is coming soon, to Lansdale and will be located on the same block as Stove and Tap. With cute, fashionable clothing, and gifty items like fall scented candles, you can have a lunch date with Poochie, and then go shopping at this dog-friendly shop nearby.

Dog friendly events

Lansdale Farmer’s Market: Super dog friendly, every Saturday from 9-1, May 19-November 17. You can buy produce, dog treats, handmade teas and bakery items, fresh lemonade, dumplings, guacamole and more. Occasionally, local dog and cat rescues attend with adoptable pets. Everyone that’s there will stop you to pet your dog, though. Haha!

First Friday: There are typically some vendor tables, children’s activities, food trucks and sometimes dog treat vendors as well. Family friendly, always fun themed, and happily dog friendly as well…stop at any of the establishments listed above while you’re there. When: Fridays, May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, 6-9 pm

Lansdale Day: Occurs on Main Street the first Saturday of June, annually. The event is hosted by the local Rotary Club of North Penn as a fundraiser to be able to give all proceeds back to local charitable and non-profit organizations. There’s something for everyone at the tons of vendor tables that line the streets from local honey, to dog treats and home decor. It’s a fun for everyone event, celebrating our town and it’s 100% dog friendly, even featuring a Pet Alley. Many vendors even put out bowls of water for visiting dogs.

Founders Day: There is literally so much to do on Founder’s Day, you have to pick and choose which parts of it to attend. This celebration is dog friendly and lasts the entire day. There are numerous vendors from local businesses including a health and wellness fair, lots of freebies, a festival of the arts, cemetery tour, celebration of our hometown heroes, excursion trains, various historical tours, beer garden, food festival, and the list goes on…ending with a beautiful fireworks display. Almost all of the activities that occur outside are dog friendly.

Events at White’s Road Park: Bring a blanket or canvas chair, kick back on the park lawn, and enjoy the evening air filled with some of the top talent around. Sponsored by the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Department, dogs are always welcome to attend almost any event at the park. When: Tuesday evenings, May 22 through Aug. 21, 7 pm.

The Car Show Must Go On: Benefiting Discover Lansdale's restoration efforts at the historic stone Freight House, the car show welcomes you and your dog to enjoy hundreds of show level vehicles from the vintage classics to the american muscle cars we all know and love.

Lansdale Bike Night: One of the largest one-night bike events in the country, Bike Night is a huge motorcycle show packed with merchandise, music and refreshments alongside some gorgeous machines. Bring your dog, grab a bite to eat, and admire some of the most beautifully maintained motorcycles in the area. Sponsored by the Blue Comet Motorcycle Club.

Cruise Night: Bring your dog along for this fun ride, which is more of a parade of locals, literally cruising a specific route.

Mardi Gras Parade: Lansdale is weird and has it in November. I don’t know why but the parade and floats are fun for all in your family to attend, including your dog. Santa arrives during this annual celebration.

My Mason Jar Lunchbox + Giveaway

Christina Ottaviano

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!

Mason jars are my favorite containers for packing leftovers, brewing tea, cold brewed coffee, and lots more.  They’re easily portable, reusable, non-toxic and come in a variety of sizes to create perfect portions.  Normally, I would pack one full of strawberries, salad or gluten free pretzels or crackers, and then another smaller one for dips, salad dressing or more snacks.  This can become cumbersome, carrying two jars, plus my drink which is almost always in a jar.  As a dog walker, I drive all day, traveling and make constant stops so there are two things I need: A lid for my jar so it doesn’t spill in my car, and healthy snacks that I can easily eat while I am driving.  If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your green-minded friend or family member, read on!

Cuppow has produced a creative solution that is simple and straightforward, allowing the transformation of a mason jar into a lunchbox.  A simple cup, BNTO, that is made to fit into the top of a wide mouth mason jar, it offers the opportunity to combine more than one item in a jar.  I’ve used them with everything from yogurt and granola, to cereal and coconut milk.  I’ve packed strawberries and coconut milk whipped cream, hummus and carrots or pretzels, salad and dressing, soup and gluten free crackers and even cookies and coconut milk.  I love that I can just drop the cup back into the mason jar when I have to pause when I make a stop, and then easily start again when I get back in the car.  The cups are made from recycled plastic and they are BPA free.  The packaging they come in is made of recycled paper and is also recyclable.   They’re made in the USA and definitely something everyone needs.  Check out their gift section for your holiday shopping.

What better compliment is there to a functional condiment cup than a Mason jar lid?  I cannot live without them.  I pack everything from hot liquids such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate to cold iced tea, juice, water, breakfast smoothies and my personal favorite: lemonade.  Drop these cute lids right onto a mason jar and screw the band on, and you’ve transformed your jar into a travel cup.  I love that they have an opening either for sipping or putting a straw through; and my metal reusable straws fit into it perfectly.  They come in a variety of colors and are made with the same standards as the BNTO cups, recycled plastic and packaging and made in the USA.  I’ve run both my lids and cups through the dishwasher many times since I received them, and they always come out looking great.

Cuppow didn’t stop there, though. In their quest to provide products that do not create waste, they’ve produced USA made, reusable coffee filters made with organic cotton for drip machines, pour over devices and cold brewing coffee.  I’ve been using mine for over two years now, and it’s still in perfect condition.  I just rinse it and allow it to air dry after every use.  And, they've created the Mason Tap, a game changer in making my own homemade salad dressings for dipping which I take with raw veg in my BNTO cups quite often.  I've also used it to dispense bone broth when raw feeding my dogs and cats, create infused oils, marinades, and lots more.  Cuppow was generous enough to give me two, one to try and one to give away!  All you need to do is like my Facebook page, Eco-Friendly Pet Product Reviews, like Cuppow on Facebook, and share this post to enter.  A winner will be chosen by 5pm 9/6/16.  Or, order yours on Amazon today!

Here’s something else that makes this company even more special: They donate a portion of their profits to Team Rubicon, a nonprofit which supports our veterans.  This is a company that proudly manufactures their products within our country, gives back to our war heroes, and has phenomenal customer service as well.

Connect with them as well on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest sales, contests, new products and giveaways.

Thermacell makes a mosquito barrier that really works

Christina Ottaviano

Six months pregnant, and trying to garden during the height of a Zika virus mosquito infestation has been a fearful challenge.  Now, add in being a dog walker and constantly outside, sweaty in 117F heat indexes with high humidity and bitten all day repeatedly by mosquitoes and I would almost rather stay inside.  Did you know? Just the fact that a person or animal is breathing makes them attractive to mosquitoes.  Warm weather that causes perspiration and elevated body heat in addition to activities that sometimes include drinking alcohol outside create the perfect storm for these flying invaders.  Left with at the very least an itchy red bump; and at worst a blood-borne disease like malaria, or Zika virus which causes birth defects... there is nothing pleasant about this experience.  The fate for your dog is much worse: heart worms are transmitted through mosquito bites.

In the past, there have been solutions that include applications of product to the skin for both people and pets, or burning candles to deter mosquitoes.  Ones that use harsh chemicals are not only unhealthy for humans and pets but also dangerous for our environment.  I personally do not like to apply anything to my skin when I am already sweaty and hot.  And the smell of citronella oil in the air or on my skin makes me nauseous...pregnant or not.

When I found Thermacell, I was excited to try a repellent that did not smell like citronella or other chemicals, didn’t have an open flame which required less attention be paid while trying to do other things, and wasn’t in a form that I had to apply it to my skin.  It's kind of a tall order...I'm picky and even more picky since becoming pregnant.  Citronella makes me even more nauseous than usual now, and has been especially irritating as far as headaches are concerned during pregnancy.  BUT: I am sadly one of the people who are more attractive to mosquitoes due to certain factors.  I typically work in my garden almost every day (though I have been slacking due to tiredness and this horrible heat), and if I do not do some type of parasite damage control I am covered in mosquito bites. Within minutes they are landing on me.  Not with my Thermacell lantern - once it's been on, and given about 10 minutes to create the magical force field of protection I am invisible to these predators.

Like the way this sounds so far?  Thermacell is offering my readers 25% off purchases through their website with the code WoofsandWhiskers, now through 9/30/2016!

At a very reasonable $29.99, the Lantern is my favorite mosquito repellent tool and I picked it up at my local Home Depot mostly because it's portable.  After breaking out the Lantern while watering my garden, weeding, pruning and continuing to do more yard work, I was only bitten once and that was right after I turned it on.  It’s effective in a 15’ x 15’ area so as long as I stay within that zone, I am safe!  Moving around outside of that area definitely proves the effectiveness of the product.  It’s pretty, with settings for a flickering candle or a light bulb look as far as illumination is concerned, and looks cute wherever I set it down in the garden.  It can be used as a lantern without turning on the mosquito repellent as well.  I have two so far, one for my front porch and one for my back yard.  I now also own a Torch, which is even more convenient because it both mounts on a stationary 6-foot pole, or can be removed and used as a tabletop lantern as well. This way my dogs won’t wander out of the covered zone, no matter which version I am using.  Operating on a single butane cartridge and batteries, the lantern warms a little pad which is infused with allethrin.   “Allethrin is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in pyrethrum flowers, a member of the chrysanthemum family.”  It barely smells like much of anything and is definitely effective.

Thermacell also sent me their Mosquito Repellent Appliance to try.  It covers the same area as the Lantern but has the capability of being attached to the person using it via a belt clip and costs a few dollars less than the lantern.  This allows for hands-free protection without having to carry the Lantern around as you move.  I found it to be helpful when walking dogs, especially near fields and wet zones, but I really love the look of the Lantern in the yard so I use it much more often.  Because I am often bending and squatting when gardening, the appliance is a bit bulky for me.  It still works the same as the Lantern, with the same amazing effectiveness but is just a little too big for a person who is 6 months pregnant.  I took both to picnics and barbecues and wasn’t bitten by a single mosquito.  My friends were amazed!   They are sold at your local Home Depot, Lowes, sporting goods stores, and Walmart. Refills are available on their website and also on Amazon.  I am so happy with this product, and I know you will be too!  I could see this product as a vital item to pack when camping or fishing as well.  I can say for sure that I will not be gardening or walking dogs without it.  Thermacell is on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube – follow and subscribe for coupons and specials.

No more sweaty foot odor with Cedar Soles

Christina Ottaviano

Foot powders, sprays and antibacterial insoles have flooded the market as most people attempt to battle embarrassing foot odor and wetness.  Feet sweat, and those who generate a lot of movement each day; dog walkers, delivery and mail carriers, contractors, exercise instructors, restaurant employees, and those working in the veterinary and medial industries are constantly on the move.  Cotton socks, breathable sneakers and washing feet correctly and daily are all helpful.  But now, there’s another option on the market that really does work.

ZEDERNA Cedar Soles Original are thin, flexible 100% natural cedarwood lined with a very thin layer of cotton.  The natural antibacterial, anti-fungicidal properties of the cedar oil within the wood absorb moisture, keeping feet dry and healthy.  It goes on to prevent athlete’s foot and cure nail fungus as well.  Upon the first wear, the insoles absorb wetness and conform to the foot of the wearer, pretty much disappearing into the shoe as far as the feel is concerned. They can be used with any shoe, any additional prescribed orthotic insole, and in any special, supportive running shoe.  They can be worn with socks or tights, boots, and even those who often have cold feet, as the insole provides an additional insulating layer.  They can be cleaned and reused by washing by hand in warm, soapy water, dried thoroughly before reinserting into shoes.  They last for about 3-6 months and they are incredibly effective!  Tested on some pretty stinky man feet, these insoles not only took away the odor that was already in the shoes, but battled the additional daily odor and wetness with grace and elegance.  The shoes smell like cedar and the wearer is happy.  Overall, the impression is that these insoles are much more effective than grainy powders and chemical-laden sprays, and much more comfortable than drug store odor fighting insoles.  Not only did these insoles battle the stinky shoe of the construction boot wearer, and sneaker wearing dog walker/runner, but also maintain them from creating new odor.  The feet stayed fresh and dry, smelling only slightly and pleasantly of cedar upon removal of the shoe.  With a 110% guarantee, and immediate improvement of foot odor, and rewards for telling friends about your newly lovely scented toes, there’s nothing to lose.

Also recommended: making a little spritz to boost the Cedar Soles when they begin to lose their efficacy with recipes that combine cedar with citruscedar with peppermint, or the ever-soothing cedar and lavender oil.  These mixtures can additionally be used as linen sprays, countertop cleaners (when diluted with distilled water) and floor cleaner (when added to castile soap).  I love multitasking products!  Try this Grove Collaborative beautiful glass spray bottle to house your new deodorizer - it's my favorite.  Cedar Soles is a small family-run business headquartered in Germany, and all of their insoles are handcrafted with only the highest quality materials.  They are on Facebook and Twitter but the best way to get in touch is to send an email.  They’re very friendly and customer service oriented, and they’ll respond very quickly!  This is a product to never go without again; and during checkout you can opt to have them remind you to reorder so you don't forget.  It’s that easy and that eco-friendly to have feet that don’t smell and soles that won’t hurt the environment.  Just compost the old ones and replace with new!  They're also available on, in individual pairs, or packs of 3.

EcoJarz lids have been essential to healthy choices while dog walking

Christina Ottaviano

I love mason jars.  As someone who cans my own homemade jam, soups, salsa, applesauce, relish, pickles and more; mason jars are always a staple in my home.  I love mason jar craft ideas, using mason jars for dry goods storage, organizing odds and ends in mason jars, and using them to store leftovers in the fridge.  So, when I saw EcoJarz lids, which are made to fit on mason jars to turn them into travel mugs, I was very excited!  I don't drink from plastic if I can help it.  So, I try to take with me what I might want to drink while I am out doing my daily dog walking run.  Typically, I take a smoothie or an iced coffee; and I always bring water which we filter at home as well. No waste!!  Kind of funny: I don't travel. I actually hate travelling and don't like vacations.  But I end up using a lot of travel-geared equipment because I am on the road so much.  Go figure.

I've been lucky enough to review both the silicone and stainless steel lids.  They also sent their stainless steel straws and a nifty straw cleaner to wash them as well.  I try not to use plastic straws, either.  They are horribly wasteful!

I have tried everything from filtered water with limes and blueberries added for flavor, to my morning smoothies, to iced coffee, and homemade iced tea using these lids and straws.  I've made milkshakes (hey, I am pregnant and so far horribly clumsy and almost definitely need a lid on my drinks...).  I absolutely love them!  When I drink from plastic cups and use plastic straws, I can taste the plastic in my drinks.  The thought of that makes me nauseous.  Everything tastes better out of glass, and it's healthier.  I liked the silicone lids and the stainless steel lids equally as far as function is concerned; however I think the stainless steel lids are a little bit more attractive.  The pint size widemouth mason jar also fits perfectly in the cup holder in my car.

A few tips I came up with while using my Ecojarz lids: make smoothies and if you have a surplus, put it in a second jar with a regular mason jar lid and store it in the fridge.  When you’re ready, just pop an Ecojarz lid on that jar and you’re all ready to walk out the door with your smoothie.  Similarly, store filtered water with lime, strawberries, blueberries and/or cucumber in mason jars in your fridge.  When you’re ready to enjoy one, just pop on an Ecojarz lid and straw, and you’re ready to go.  Also, if you aren’t a canner – you can often find mason jars at thrift stores, on Craigslist and at estate sales/yard sales.  This is the most green option for buying jars, as you aren’t contributing to the manufacturing process of new jars by buying used ones already in circulation.  If you can’t locate them used, mason jars are generally located in the seasonal section in most grocery stores.  Don’t forget: shop local, supporting local business if possible.  I avoid mass merchandisers for many reasons...

Ecojarz offers a one-stop spot to order all of the things you need to turn your mason jars into portable drink cups.  The stainless lids, silicone lids, and stainless straws are all also available on Amazon.  I highly recommend the stainless steel straws, in addition to the lids as they are a superior option to reduce waste for a cleaner, healthier environment.  These lids make a great gift for your favorite green lifestyler – and at reasonable prices there’s no reason to wait.  Check out Ecojarz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and share with your friends, today!  Also, follow Ecojarz on Pinterest for great recipe ideas, giveaways and other green living ideas.  I also use, and love their loose tea diffuser.

When it's hot outside, string bags are the best for toting essentials

Christina Ottaviano

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to review a great, reusable set of bags from ECOBAGS®.  I used them for a few days to get a feel for how they’d work in practical situations.  I am still using them today!

Day 1: Took my ECOBAGS® 10 inch tote handle String Bag with me to the drug store.  I picked up shampoo, and a few other items.  I used it while shopping, and then returned my items to it after ringing up at the register.  Loved the sturdiness of the handle and the stretch in the netting!  It folded up nicely and fit right in my purse afterward, for the next time I’d need to use it.  I also liked not having to touch the store-supplied shopping basket.

Day 2: I have four dachshunds.  One had back surgery in January 2012.  As a result, he can no longer go up or down stairs.  So, every night I carry him up with me.  Not a big deal, except I can’t carry anything else while carrying him.  ECOBAGS® to the rescue!  I gathered the items I wanted to take with me, and used the 22 inch long handle String Bag.  It fit perfectly over my shoulder, and I was easily able to carry it and my dog up the stairs, eliminating the need for two trips.  Four years later, I am still using the bag for this task.  My dog sees the bag, and knows it's time for bed!  I carry everything from clean laundry to whatever else needs to go up - toilet paper, toiletries, etc.  Also, the string bags are quite convenient while walking dogs outside for a hands-free way to carry the necessities.  The design of the string bags are especially lightweight in the heat, allowing air to pass through and almost feeling like carrying nothing.

Day 3: I took the ECOBAGS® Produce and Bulk Bags to a farm stand with me.  Initially, I noticed that they were very lightweight and had no concerns about them weighing too much for the produce scale to influence my produce weight.  I filled the small bag with berries, the middle bag with peaches and put my eggs in the large bag.  I liked how the drawstrings kept the bags shut, but were still easy to open at the register.  I was absolutely thrilled not to have those plastic produce bags in my groceries when I got home.  I also took the 22 inch long handle String Bag with me and put all of my bagged produce in it to take home.  I put it right over my shoulder and carrying it to my car was effortless and convenient, having both of my hands free to use my keys.  I take them to the farmer's market, and to the farm where I buy eggs as well.  I am often asked where I got mine - they are still in very good shape after 4 years of use.

What did I love most about them?  They’re 100% cotton, with azo-free dyes and machine washable.  They are so lightweight; I almost forgot I was carrying them in my purse.  And, when they wear out, (which seems as though it would take a very long time to happen, as they’re study and very well-made) I can toss them in my composter.  It's been a few years and they're still in perfect working shape...pretty impressive!  The company uses packaging made from recycled material and low impact inks – it’s recyclable.  It doesn’t get any more green than that!

This is a company with a sincere interest in environmental interests and personal investment in the ability of individuals to make a difference.  Their philosophy relates to making as little impact as possible on the world around us.  You can feel good about supporting ECOBAGS® - a great company with a very earth-conscientious point of view.  Grab a set of 5 pastel net bags on Amazon today!

Interested in learning more about ECOBAGS®?  On social media: Visit ECOBAGS® Facebook page & Twitter handle. Also, check out ECOBAGS® blog for interesting and intellectual discussion regarding environmental issues.

All hail the metal lunch container!

Christina Ottaviano

Lunch technology has come a long way since the days of plastic lunchboxes stickered with cartoon characters and plastic thermoses containing soup or milk.  If you remember drinking hot liquid from a plastic container, you’ll be reminded of that plasticy-adulterated flavor that leached into the food or drink.  And the flavors of previously enjoyed food and beverages mingling with the plastic flavor are disgusting.  It wasn’t appetizing then.  It isn’t now, either.  Add in the chemicals we now know seep from plastic when heated…and the whole thing becomes a troublesome issue.

In this economy, ordering takeout for lunch is not always an option.  It’s not an earth-friendly option either, with all of the single-use material associated with takeout.  A financially friendly alternative is to pack a lunch and take it.  Those who prefer to create their own healthier lunches desire to pack items from home.  But how can you take it with you, in an environmentally friendly manner?  As a dog walker, I am in the car all day and usually need to pack a variety of snacks and meals.

Enter ECOlunchbox!  No more need for plastic sandwich bags, prepackaged (and generally over processed) snacks and plastic drinking bottles.  They’ve thought of everything, from the stainless steel containers and the cloth napkins to the reusable bamboo spork.  Everything is washable with no waste.  They generously sent me the ECOlunchbox Oval to try and review recently.  It’s perfectly sized for a sandwich, cut in half and stacked and the small container included for a snack.  It’s completely dishwasher safe and tested lead free, and the plastic lid for the little container is also BPA free.  I like that it protects a sandwich from being squished, and that the little container is leak proof.  I thought it was sized perfectly for someone who prefers a small meal. I also liked how my cold pack made the metal container very cold, which kept my sandwich nice and cold in my insulated lunch bag, in the sweltering 100 degree weather.  I packed sliced, fresh peaches in it for breakfast the other day, and was able to quickly open and snack on them without making a mess in my car. Two suggestions: Choose a larger size or pair it with a second one if you want to also enjoy a salad and dressing with your sandwich and snack, and pick up one of their kits.  Also, remove the sticker on the bottom before you put it in the dishwasher the first time.  I was left with a very sticky residue that I scrubbed with salt and vinegar to remove.  It would have been much easier to remove prior to going through the dishwasher first.

Get yours on Amazon, and choose from the oval version that I have, a stackable steel version that holds more lunch than you can probably eat at once, or this cute sectioned box - for those who despise the though of their food touching.

Check out their Facebook page for cute snack ideas, recipes and special offers.  Follow them on Twitter for tips, tricks and giveaways.  Follow them on Pinterest for craft projects, creative lunch ideas and eco friendly photography.

Dog walkers unite: this lip balm perfectly protects lips in all weather

Christina Ottaviano

The industry standard for lip moisturizing in the past has been petroleum jelly, a by-product of the oil harvesting process.  From Wikipedia: “The raw material for petroleum jelly was discovered in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, United States, on some of the country's first oil rigs.”  Putting a by-product of oil on my lips is not my idea of healthy.  And, from what I know about human skin – synthetic oils such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil are not absorbed by the skin.  Instead, they lay on top of the skin like plastic wrap, blocking humidity in the air from entering and instead voiding the skin of needed moisture.  It also seals in any bacteria that may be on the skin.  You might think your lips are constantly chapped, and that you have to apply lip balm constantly because they’re always so dry.  But have you checked the ingredients?

How green is your lip balm?  Read the label.  Are there chemical names you can’t pronounce?  Ingredients you don’t recognize?  Do you really want to eat those substances?  You won’t find that in a natural lip balm, like Crazy Rumors.  Adorable couple Edie & Brian set out to create a lip balm that wouldn’t be harmful to ingest – and they were successful!  Not only are their lip balms packaged adorable; they’re vegan, cruelty-free and all-natural.  Leaping Bunny certified, cruelty-free products are important to me, and I am always excited to share them with you.  They sent me four delicious flavors (Candy Corn, Star Anise, Orange Clove and Bee My Honey) awhile ago to try and review, and I've been hooked ever since.  I loved the velvety texture, long moisturizing time and flavor combinations.  The Candy Corn was my absolute favorite, but I enjoyed using them all and rotate frequently which one I pull out of my purse or pocket to use.  They don’t just smell good; they taste good too.  With natural ingredients like Pure Essential Oils, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Shea Butter – the flavors are mild but noticeable and not like taking a bite out of artificially fragrance perfumed sticks.  As a dog walker, the sun, wind and cold create havoc on my lips.  I try to use products that protect but often times they taste awful.  Not these!  They're almost like a little sweet kiss.

Very reasonably priced at just $3.49 each on their website, these lip balms would make a fabulous little gift.  I imagine them tied into the bow on a holiday present, teacher gifts, dog walker thank you gifts, or a “just because I love you” for a close friend.  I spoke to Edie herself, and she is sweet, friendly and very accommodating! Crazy Rumors is a genuinely honest company that is sincerely interested in providing a green lip balm that is healthy for humans and doesn’t hurt our animal friends.  Keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for their newsletter for special offers and promotions.  In the Philadelphia area, enter your zip code to find a store that carries Crazy Rumors near you or order online at for this adorable coffee flavored variety pack.

Esse Resuable makes a clip-on bag I love

Christina Ottaviano

“Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste.  “Plastic bags do not biodegrade. Light breaks them down into smaller and smaller particles that contaminate the soil and water and are expensive and difficult to remove.  Less than 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled each year. Recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000. The recycled product can be sold for $32.” -Clean Air Council

Plastic bags are a nagging problem around the world.  Although they are recyclable, less than 10% end up in the recycling stream, and it’s an expensive endeavor.  Sadly, the ones that end up in landfills do not get recycled and they are ingested by marine animals.

 “When the small particles from photodegraded plastic bags get into the water, they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals. Biotoxins like PCBs that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.  The City of San Francisco determined that it costs 17 cents for them to handle each discarded bag.” –Kay Bushnell

 It seems that eliminating the use of them altogether would be the most appropriate solution.  That’s where Esse Reusable Bags started with two earth-friendly women who have a passion for the environment and a great sense of functionality.  Esse - Everyday Solutions for Saving the Earth is the creation of not only a great line of reusable bags, but also ways to contain them neatly.

 They sent me the Market Pak to try recently and I really loved it!  It came with one Everyday Bag and two Produce Bags.  The bags all roll up neatly to fit inside of a cute drawstring pouch which fit perfectly in my purse, and a carabiner to clip on a leash if I chose to use that instead.  The Everyday Bag is a gorgeous shade of my favorite color, green.  It’s made well, the fabric feels strong and its construction is sturdy.  It has a great loop of elastic attached to it that holds the bag in a folded position when not in use.  The size of it is roomy and fit as many groceries in it as two plastic bags.  The Produce Bags have a drawstring closure, and can be used during shopping, rinsing and storage.  They are also very well constructed and the mesh is strong.  The held my produce expertly and kept it safe until I got home.  Esse also sent me the Clip It Bag, which is a great size for carrying a few doggie essentials on a walk, small cosmetic or drug store purchases, movies, lunches, wine and more.  This bag is made from the same material as the Everyday bag, and is strong and durable.  Great for carrying a few snacks and a water on a longer walk, or clipping folded to the leash for items collected along the way (eh-herm...poop bag, anyone?).

This is a great company that works with a non-profit organization called Rebuild Resources, “that provides work and guidance to individuals trying to turn their life around after years of addiction and abuse. Rebuild "builds" our bags by adding custom fabric and printing and together we are working on a recycling program that turns well-used reusable bags into fabulous rugs.”  Check them out!  For exclusive offers and new products, make sure to “like” their page on Facebook, and “follow” them on Pinterest and Twitter.

We love these poop bags!

Christina Ottaviano

“It's just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn't it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.” 
John GroganMarley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

 Having four dogs, I can attest to the joys of sharing a home with them.  They’re always happy to see me, and they’re always cuddly, affectionate and silly.  It’s not likely that I’ll ever be dog-less, as I enjoy so much the daily activities I share with my four.

One of our routine activities is to take at least one daily walk.  This will be especially pleasant in the beautiful fall weather we are looking forward to here in Eastern PA.  The air smells of fireplaces, leaves and cold – and the dogs thoroughly enjoy taking in all of these scents. As a business owner, I have used these bags repeatedly and tested them to the max. I've also advised the product to many of our clients who now use them as well.  Picking up poop is not the glamorous part of my job.  Picking up poop with a flimsy bag is just asking for poo-in-bare-hand as we call it...and it has happened with cheaper bags.

The entire experience is rather pleasant…until it comes time to clean up after them.  There’s nothing really enjoyable about picking up dog poop, but it’s a task that needs to be done.  Earth Rated sent me an adorable press kit some time ago, filled with attractively packaged products to try out.  Seriously, the little dog on the package is leaping over leaves and he is really, really cute.  The first thing I noticed about the entire package was that it smelled like lavender.  It’s a pleasant, non-artificial smelling scent.  I took a roll of bags, placed them in the dispenser and I was on my way.  When it was time to use them, they unrolled smoothly, and I enjoyed the fact that the bag was much longer and taller than other poop bags I’ve used.  This keeps my sleeves out of the mess.  The lavender scent definitely cut down on the poop smell while we continued our walk.  A nifty bonus: there is a clip on the back of the dispenser to hang your poop bag on when you’ve completed your poop-picking-up mission.  Something else I really liked about the dispenser was that it came with a perfectly sized carabiner clip at the top, making it really easy to attach to my leash and remove to reattach somewhere else, like a different leash or a belt loop.  I have other dispensers that use a different kind of plastic clip that is a total inconvenience to move and switch.  Lastly, it’s a really pretty olive green (my favorite color!).

They’ve really thought of everything at Earth RatedThe bags come in a form that contains an EPI additive, and also a vegetable-based form.  I tried both, and liked them equally. They have a 100% recycled paper core, which is a perfect alternative to the regular plastic core in most rolls of poop bags. They also offer bags with handles, which are perfect for scooping kitty litter, cleaning out a critter cage, or even bagging weeds pulled from the garden.  I've even used them to collect seeds while on walks from plants and flowers I really liked.  I don’t think I could say enough good things about these bags – I really, really loved them!

If you’re a pet owner, these bags are a must!  Check their website to find out where to buy in your area or order from the amazing and choose from a huge selection of Earth Rated products.  Local to Lansdale, PA I have seen them sold at Pet Valu in Hatfield, and Dog Town in Colmar.  Follow them on Twitter to check out their current contests, on Facebook for updates and promotions, and Pinterest for some very cute pins.

ChicoBag offers reusable bags perfect for a day at the dog park

Christina Ottaviano

A major cause of roadside litter, fresh and salt water pollution, plastic bags plague our planet from production to disposal.  Toxins leech from the plastic as they lay in water.  Animals suffer tragic deaths having come into contact with plastic bag litter.  Some animals ingest the bags and die from blocked intestines, while others are strangled or suffocated.  The use of plastic bags has been rationalized with the “but I reuse them” mentality.  They carry clothes to the gym, lunch to work – even pick up dog waste for disposal. 

ChicoBag was born in 2004 when Andy Keller noted the horrifying number of plastic bags floating around the local landfill.  He sewed the first ChicoBag himself, on a second-hand sewing machine and a few prototypes later, came up with the functional and stylish ChicoBags sold today.  Impressively green, his company has several programs available to benefit the environment.  The ChicoBag Zero Waste Materials program is set up to collect ChicoBags in good or poor condition for redistribution to families that cannot afford to purchase reusable bags, or local artists, crafters and nonprofits for repurposing.  The ChicoBag offices have a waste diversion program, dividing recyclable material, landfill trash and compostable items that are enjoyed by the office chickens.  The company is also a member of Green America, due to their commitment and action, improving the environment responsibly.

Chicobag recently sent me a great reusable bag, produce bags and reusable lunch bags to try out.  I absolutely loved the Sling Bohemian River Stripe!  The material is strong and high quality.  It’s constructed well, and the handle is plenty long enough to wear diagonally.  This is important to me, because I have a small frame and handled bags fall right off of my shoulder.  That’s really annoying when I have to carry several at once or one while walking a long distance.  Anytime I find a bag that can be worn diagonally, I’m happy to try it! The River Stripe pattern is pretty, too.  I found it very convenient to fold it up, pack it in the attached pouch so cleverly sewn into the bag, and attach it to my purse with the carabiner clip.  I mostly used it for groceries, but carried my laptop in it a few times, too. The ability to fold it into a small pouch makes it my go-to option when shopping at the farmer's market or other outdoor fairs while walking my dog.  I personally love the full line of ChicoBag products available on Amazon!

I found the Produce Stand rePETe Mesh 3 Pack to be the same high quality, durable construction.  They came in great colors, are machine washable and are made from 94% recycled materials!  According to their website, “When you see a ChicoBag® brand reusable bag with the rePETe™ logo, you can be sure of two things. First, the fabric used in the bag production is 100% recycled PET. Second, many other components used in production (the aluminum carabiner, polyurethane cording, etc.)  are made from recycled sources as well.”

The Snack Time rePETe™ lunch bags were innovative, attractively designed and also well-constructed.  Made of 78% recycled content, they’re really two bags in one.  They can be used full sized, to accommodate a sandwich or half sized for snacks.  Genius!

Their best sellers are the Snack Time rePETe bags, as well as their Sling rePETe bags, which they offer in different prints and patterns. Another customer favorite is the bottle sling rePETe. Be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Perfect for stashing dog treats + snacks, Lunchskins are safe + reusable

Christina Ottaviano

Plastic sandwich bags have been a convenience for people who pack their lunches for decades.  Saving money by packing, rather than eating out daily has been a cost-saving measure for those on a budget.  But what about the environmental impact of these little bags?  “"Every piece of litter has a human face behind it. If they are a harm to the environment in terms of visual blight, then people need to stop littering," said Rob Krebs, a spokesman for the American Plastics Council, in an article by Seattle PI.

According to Lunchskins, “every day, more than 20 million sandwich bags from school lunches go into landfills in the US.”  That statistic is staggering and needed some attention.  That’s when 3greenmoms was born.  Manufactured nearby in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Lunchskins provide the green alternative to plastic sandwich bags.  Food safe, dishwasher safe and reusable hundreds of times, Lunchskins come in a variety of sizes and pretty graphic designs.

I recently had the opportunity to use Lunchskins, thanks to samples they sent to me for review.  Items toted included a sandwich, popcorn and baby carrots.  They functioned exactly like a plastic sandwich bag, keeping the contents safe and intact – with the added benefit of being washable and reusable.  The food tasted as it would have directly from its original packaging.  Running them through the dishwasher to clean them was easy and convenient, and they stayed in the racks exactly where I put them.  They’re well-constructed; made of a strong, durable fabric that’s lined on the inside with a food safe material.  The designs available are bright, cheery and fun.  Lunchskins are manufactured in the USA. 

The company has taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint: “We are primarily paper-free with the majority of bills and business conducted online, we use minimal packaging made from recycled materials in our shipments, we print all promotional materials on recycled materials at a local printing company, we use compact fluorescent bulbs and low flow faucets, and we bike to our office or work from home.”

They list several alternative uses for Lunchskins on their website, in addition to the few I’d considered (coupons, daily supplements, a place to stash purse trash until near a can or recycling container): “lipsticks, dog treats, wallet and keys, ice for boo-boos, pacifiers, baby toiletries, travel cosmetic case, and any other treats or loose messy items we want to fashionably stash away”.

Interested in learning more about this fabulous, environmentally conscious company?  Head over to Lunchskins website, and sign up for their email newsletter which includes promotions.  “Like” their Facebook page to stay connected with giveaways.

Products are also available in great choices of designs and color on