Archive for November, 2009

Have a Green Christmas

November 30th, 2009


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This past Saturday, I appeared on CBS THE EARLY SHOW Saturday edition to do a segment on having a greener Christmas.    I’ve embedded the video above for you to watch.

For those of you who have been asking about the sources of the different products, I’m listing them here.  Enjoy and have fun having a greener and more gorgeous Christmas this year!

ps-I have not picked a winner yet in our Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo mattress give away.   Sit tight and I’ll announce it soon!  I am taking my time reading each entry to really, truly figure out the best winner!

ECO TIP#1:  BUY A PRE-LIT LED ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE

·         LED lighting—or light emitting diodes—is the latest in eco-friendly holiday lighting.   LED lights use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights, can last up to 10 times longer, are cool to the touch and therefore reduce the risk of fire and do not have any moving parts/glass/filaments, so they are very durable.

·         Pre lit artificial Christmas trees are now extremely popular, cornering the market with 90% of total artificial trees.

·         It can be around five time more expensive to purchase a pre-lit LED artificial Christmas tree vs. a regular pre-lit Christmas tree, but the lifespan will be around five times longer for the LED version, along with the energy savings.

·         According to Consumer Reports, an LED tree will save around $11 per season on energy costs.

·         An LED Christmas tree is resistant to heat or cold and is the ideal choice for hot climates during the holidays, like Florida and Arizona.

PROPS:  A 7 ½ Foot pre-lit LED Tree ($199.99; jcp.com) and a pair of pre-lit LED artificial topiary trees in urns ($39.99; jcp.com).

ECO TIP#2:  DECORATE THE TREE WITH GLOBAL GOODNESS

·         It’s easy to decorate your holiday tree using handmade ornaments that do not cost a lot and help make a difference in the world.

·         World of Good is Ebay’s online marketplace that convenes thousands of humanitarian sellers who employ indigenous people in countries all over the world to make and sell their handmade products at a fair trade price.

·         World of Good works with craftsmen in poorer countries like India, Peru and Morocco to create environmentally-friendly ornaments that exceed fair wage guidelines, preserves a cultural craft, and employs people who would otherwise be unemployable in their country.

·         Examples include hand-painted dried gourds, hand-knit Peruvian wool ornaments, and recycled tin stars made from old cookie tins.

PROPS: A variety of World of Good ornaments to be decorated on the 71/2 foot LED lit tree ($6-$9.75 an ornament; worldofgood.ebay.com).

ECO TIP#3:  GO ENERGY EFFICIENT WITH OUTDOOR DECORATING

 

·         Every holiday season, hundreds of fires are caused by outdoor holiday light displays.  The cause of these fires can range from using lighting that isn’t approved for outdoor use, overplugging too many strands of lights together into the same electrical socket, or overheating of bulbs on dry trees or other flammable materials.

·         Another advantage of LED lighting is that because it is so extremely energy efficient, multiple strands of lights can be plugged into each other without risk of fire; in fact, it’s recommended only three strands of incandescent lights can safely be plugged together.  With LED lights, over 100 strands can be connected line by line.  

·         Since LED lighting doesn’t get hot like traditional lights, outdoor LED decorations post little or no risk in starting a fire.    LED outdoor stakes, wreaths, swags and lights will also not chip, break or fade since the bulbs are not glass; they will last 25,000 hours (or around 10 years of use) and use about 90% less energy.   If all holiday light strings sold in the U.S. this year were the energy efficient variety, electricity usage will fall by more than 2 billion kilowatt-hours. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity usage of more than 190,000 single family homes.

PROPS:

50-count LED colorful string lights ($17.97; lowes.com); Gemmy 80-LED Light Sparkle Doe; two styles ($88; lowes.com)

ECO TIP#4:  THE GREENEST GIFT IS A GIFT CARD

·         More than 128 million people will go shopping on Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving according to the National Retail Federation.

·         65% of American population returns holiday gifts every single holiday season.

·         Americans gave more than $24.9 billion dollars worth of gift cards in the 2008 holiday season, making them one of the most popular gift choices.   

·         A gift card is the greenest choice because the recipient can choose exactly what they need: no fuel wasted on returning gifts, no damaged gifts thrown away, no waste on gift wrap and boxes.

·         Wrap a gift card in a recycled Altoid tin; just wrap with paper and fill with peppermint candles; tie with box.   Easy, eco and festive way to wrap a gift card.

·         One philanthropic gift card is from ‘TisBest, which allows people to buy a gift card in a number of denominations and the recipient of the card can then choose from over 250 pre-selected and vetted charities where they would like to donate the money.    These charities range from environmental to humanitarian to a variety of well-regarded social cases; www.tisbest.org.

PROPS:  Variety of gift cards from stores in Altoid tins; TisBest (www.tisbest.org) charity cards in different styles for different types of charities.

 

 

ECO TIP#5:  Choose a Balsam pine Peace Wreath

·         Many American Christmas tree growers use tree cuttings to make hand-tied wreaths during the holiday season.  Buying these wreaths support American farmers and make use of a natural resource that does not involve cutting down live trees.

·         These farms are eco-friendly since they often use land that unsuitable for growing crops; so the trees help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide wildlife habitat.

·         This 60-era peace sign is an enduring symbol of hope that will last all season long if hung outdoors.  It’s hand-tied from a northern Vermont farm using freshly cut balsam fir pine.

·         The wreath is easily recyclable in most communities after the holiday season and can be added to normal Christmas tree recycling/collection days.

PROPS:  24” Peace Sign Balsam Wreath ($44.95; Gardeners Supply Company; gardeners.com).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2009

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Hope you’re having a wonderful Thanksgiving today with friends and family.

I’m off today celebrating with family, of course, but I’ll see you back here tomorrow with more blog posts at Daily Danny.

And be sure to tune in to CBS THE EARLY SHOW this Saturday, November 28th to get my best tips on having a greener and more gorgeous Christmas.    I have lots of affodable and cool things to share.

Warmly,

Danny Seo

Lost Rancho La Puerta Pics

November 25th, 2009

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Was going through my digital camera and my friend’s Flickr site of pics from my recent trip to Tecate, Mexico at Rancho La Puerta and for the Green Spa Network conference.   There was pretty magical pictures in the bunch, so I thought I’d share them with you.

A few of them have become desktop photos on my computers and on my Blackberry.  For a while, I had this awesome pic of me sticking my tongue out to the camera as Bethanny (from the Real Housewives of NY) was standing next to me at an Everyday with Rachael Ray photo shoot.  Yes, sometimes I act like I’m 12.    But it was time to change the pic to something more soothing.  Hopefully these pics will help you find a little zen in your day.

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Fog rolling in during our daily morning hikes.

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A top the mountain.

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Full sunrise.

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Love the colors in the morning.

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And before I forget, here’s a pic inside the Rancho La Puerta library.  It’s a tradition for visiting authors to donate their books to the library, so here I am donating my complete collection of books.   If you’re staying at the Ranch, you can head on over to the library and borrow my books and many other great ones ready to read.   A fun place to sit, read, browse and enjoy.

Video: My 1997 Oprah Appearance

November 24th, 2009

Oh boy, look what the Fedex man dragged to my front door: a DVD copy of my 1997 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  In light of her announcement that she’s ending her show with the 25th season, I thought how fitting to share this.

This week at Daily Danny seems to be a video montage week, first with the Method parody commercial of Scrubbing Bubbles, and now a blast from the past: my 19-year-old self on Oprah when she launched Oprah’s Angel Network.

12 years ago, I appeared on Oprah to share how I raised $30,000 in less than 30 days to sponsor the Baltimore Habitat for Humanity Oprah House.    I was given a challenge from a producer at the show: raise $30,000, don’t mention the name “Oprah” when fund-raising, and then come on the show to explain how you did it so others watching might be able to do the same thing.

I haven’t seen this video in over a decade and a lot things come to mind.  But I thought it would be something fun to share with you so you can see my teenage self was trying to save the world even way back then. 

Enjoy!

Video: Scrub Those Bubbles Away

November 23rd, 2009

My friends over at Method Home recently  uploaded this hilarious video to YouTube.   I wanted to share it with you because A: it brings home the point that the traditional smell of “clean” is really chemicals, B: those chemicals linger and stay with you in your bathroom and C: we really need Senator Al Franken’s Household Product Labeling Act to pass.

For those of you not familiar with the Household Product Labeling Act, it’s pretty simple:  The bill (if it becomes law) would require that household cleaning products and similar products bear a label that contains a complete and accurate list of all the product’s ingredients.

From Organic Authority:

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has introduced The Household Product Labeling Act (S. 1697), which would require household cleaning products to carry labels that list all of their ingredients.

“Moms and dads have a right to know whether harmful chemicals are present in their kitchen cupboards,” Franken says. “When my wife, Franni, and I were raising our own kids, we were constantly concerned with what we used to wash their cribs, their pacifiers, the floors and surfaces they played on. This is just a commonsense measure to help parents keep their kids safe and healthy.”

Current law requires product labels to list immediately hazardous ingredients, but there is no labeling requirement for ingredients that may cause harm over time.

Toxic chemicals in household products produce harmful health effects—the main reason we recommend natural and organic options.

The bill would make information readily available to consumers. HR 3057, the House companion bill, was introduced by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).

I for one think this bill is really the way to go and that consumers deserve full transparency on what chemicals are in their everyday household cleaning products.   Maybe this will make the big conglomerate manufacturers finally disclose what we’ve all suspected all along: that smell of “clean” is really dirty after all.