The days are counting down. Need last minute stocking stuffers? Are you bored with the same old stuff - year after year?! Read on for 18 great - and unique - ideas! Better yet, all of the options are natural, sustainable, or eco-friendly options. You cannot go wrong. Green Haven Living has eco-conscious gifts for everyone on your list.
Ready? Here you go!!
Film plastic, such as plastic bags, can be really tough for most recycling facilities to process. But, Westerville and surrounding communities can utilize a special recycling program by dropping off those items here at Green Haven Living. We have partnered with Westerville Lions, who have organized this program, to collect 500 lbs of film plastic waste every 6 months. Drop your plastic off at Green Haven Living during normal operating hours -- our bin is just inside the door. In return, the plastic waste is provided to Trex Company, which recycles it into benches for our community!
If you visit our store, you will see our community's very first special benches outside of our building (20 W. Main St. Westerville, OH 43081). You have earned these special commemorative benches, Westerville. So, please take a seat and enjoy them! We are continuing this program to earn additional benches, so bring your plastic and let us take it off your hands!
Please donate only clean items from this list:
Plastic Store Bags (any)
Pallet Wrap and Stretch Film
Dry Cleaning Bags
Ziploc and Other Resealable Bags
Cereal Box Liners
Plastic Ecommerce Mailers
Plastic Overwrap of Water Bottles, etc.
Bedding or Linen Packaging
Pet Food Bags
Prewashed Salad Bags
Vinyl Shower Curtains and Tablecloths
**Please bring your recycling in clean plastic only. No cardboard, glass, or other materials.**
A million thanks for supporting this project. As of the date of this post, we have managed to divert more than 1,000 lbs of film plastic from the landfill - a huge win for both our community and the environment. Let's keep it going! Click here to check out our sister website for more products that can help you live and give sustainably.
A Guest Blog by Wendy Kaiser
Hi! I’m Wendy, owner and formulator of HANDS Organic Skincare located in Clintonville, Ohio. Thanks for reading my guest post for Green Haven Living this month.
I am passionate about making accessible botanical skincare for those that are mindful of both clean personal products and the planet. The list of ingredients I will use is probably shorter than the list of ones I won’t, so I just say, “Nothing outside of nature.” Real organic ingredients in their least processed state, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. I am inspired by and have learned so much about natural ingredients and their ability to influence our wellbeing. My products are available both in-store and online at Green Haven Living.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a stay-at-home/ work-from-home/ homeschooling mom. I have all the hats on --- just as I assume many of my readers do too! Because life is so busy, we have to stay mindful to allow ourselves dedicated time each day for self-care. We talk about sustainability...but, we have to be able to sustain ourselves as well, right? So, let me share my self-care ritual with you. I hope you’ll allow yourselves the time you deserve to unwind.
Have you ever heard of “bookending''? I choose something in the morning, maybe as short as 5 minutes of heart-focused breathing, or as long as a 20-minute walk, depending on our day.
Then I go about doing all the things, of course. At the end of each day, I bookend it with something special, like skin care. And for this, I’ll grab several of my toxin-free, plastic-free products for some dedicated time.
A quick shower will help start my self-care time, usually followed by my Clary Sage & Mandarin Body Powder. This body powder avoids troublesome talc as well as plastic packaging, and smells insanely comforting. It’s the linalool and linalyl acetate in the Clary Sage that has such powerful calming and grounding abilities, and will take the feeling of your long day down quickly!
During those dry, cold Fall and Winter months, I like using body butters to calm and hydrate my skin. I would recommend either the Tangerine Lavender Chamomile Butter or the Cardamom Ginger Night Butter, which I love because it has a warming effect.
Before dressing in something comfy, I will apply one of my organic solid deodorants (Jasmine Grapefruit or Bergamot Blood Orange) or the beeswax-free Tangerine Turmeric Vegan Deodorant Cream. All of my deodorants are formulated to prevent odor without interfering with the normal function of our bodies (perspiration).
Next, I will absolutely go for one of my botanical face masks. Choosing one is the hardest part, but one of my favorites is the Brightening Mask. Packed with orange peel, rhassoul clay, local turmeric, raw cacao, coconut milk and sandalwood, it is cooling, gentle and smells so good. While your mask works its wonders, you’ve got a good 10-15 minutes to watch a show, read a book or listen to music. Mask tip: don’t let a clay mask dry on your face! Rinse it off when it’s still damp so all the goodness and moisture you’ve just applied doesn’t get removed.
After the mask, I love using my Calendula & Chamomile-Infused Glow Face Oil. In another sustainable win, this oil can be used three different ways. First, most simply as a face moisturizer. Second, for use as your face massage or Gua Sha oil. Third, it can be used as an oil cleanser, which is a great way to transition your skin for fall and winter protection. It also saves product, as often you won’t need to reapply moisturizing oil or cream in the morning! This oil is also essential oil-free and completely safe for babies and kids. That calendula and chamomile infusion can help with boo-boos, bruises, dry or irritated skin for them as well! So, I guess that’s four uses! For dewy soft skin, you can also seal in the moisture with Helichrysum Radiant Face Cream. You will love the whipped consistency, as well as all the anti-aging and hydrating benefits this cream provides.
Fewer ingredients, less packaging, more care and mindfulness all around. I sincerely hope you take a few minutes out of your day to care for yourself. It’s worth it. Your health and happiness depend on it. And, feeling a sense of wellbeing requires only minutes a day.
May 22nd officially kicks off our Farmer’s Market season on Saturday mornings in Uptown Westerville --- and we cannot wait! Meeting the local people who grow so much of our food re-emphasizes every year why we choose to support them. Many small family farmers find it difficult to compete with larger agricultural companies in the food marketplace, so farmer’s markets promote a direct way to provide a better return for their hard work while connecting with us --- their community --- and our needs.
The bounty of fresh fruits and veggies, herbs, baked goods, flowers, and other products from small local farmers and makers welcomes Summer like nothing else. The flavors are so much more vibrant due to the lack of shipping and storage required to bring them to us, and many of these foods are grown organically and using more regenerative, sustainable farming practices. With such a variety of nutrient-dense local foods, you can't help but be inspired to eat healthier, whole, in-season recipes. So, it got us thinking about unique products we can offer to compliment your Farmer’s Market finds! Read on for more ideas.
Salad Dressing / Marinade Shaker
6 healthy dressings are printed pre-measured on this glass shaker, which can also double as marinades for your vegetables and meats. No need to purchase store bought dressings in plastic bottles...you’ll never grow bored of these recipes! Isn’t the flavor so much more vibrant when you use fresh, locally-grown ingredients? No added sugar, fat, preservatives, sodium, or flavor-enhancing chemicals needed! Fill it to the lines, shake, and enjoy! The recipes include the following: French Vinaigrette, Italian Herb, Creamy Caesar, Sesame Scallion, Honey Mustard, and Creamy Citrus Ginger.
Tip: One of our fellow Uptown Westerville merchants is an importer of fine oils and vinegars that are perfect for these recipes. Don’t forget to stop by A Twist on Olives!
Herb Stripper and Chopper
Make your food prep a snap. This handy stainless steel Herb Stripper and Chopper features different sized holes to fit a large variety of herbs and greens. Just place the stem into the smallest hole that fits and pull through to strip the leaves in a fraction of the time. This efficient little tool is such a time saver! The green protective cover fits over the super-sharp blade, which you can use for fast chopping without dirtying an extra utensil. Always store with the protective cover on the sharp edge!
Stoneware Butter Keeper
Butter and baked goods lovers --- listen up! You don't have to settle for hard, unspreadable butter anymore. This Stoneware Butter Keeper will hold one stick of butter on your countertop or table for up to 30 days. No need to refrigerate! It's designed to keep your butter soft and spreadable. Simply pour 1/2" water into the base. Fill your butter keeper and place it upside down into the basin. The water keeps your butter fresh, soft, and sealed from the air. Just change the water every 2-3 days.
Tip: Create an herbed butter by mixing in honey and/or fresh herbs like garlic, cinnamon, thyme, or parsley for a special treat!
Polished Stainless Steel Spreader
This polished Stainless Steel Spreader is a fantastic choice for butter, jam, jellies, apple butter, peach butter, honey, our d'oeuvres, and cheeses. Every charcuterie board, brunch spread, or party platter needs one! These make a great gift coupled with our Stoneware Butter Keepers. This Spreader is made from stainless steel and is made to last! These make awesome wedding and housewarming gifts.
Tip: Check out our awesome selection of locally grown jams, jellies, apple butter, and peach butter from Glass Rooster Cannery! We also have lots of varieties of raw honey from local beekeeper, Honeyrun Farms!
Honey and Syrup Warmer and Dispenser
Check out this handy little Honeycomb Dispenser! This will make dispensing your honey and syrup so much easier. It dispenses from the bottom! Fill the glass base with 1/3 c. hot water to gently warm your honey or syrup. Store in the glass base to keep your syrup fresh, soft, and to prevent it from crystallizing around the spout. The lid and lever are chrome-plated, and the body is glass. We recommend handwashing. This dispenser will hold 8 oz. of honey or syrup!
Tip: Purchase with your favorite raw local honey from Honeyrun Farms!
Stainless Steel Compost Keeper
Make good use of your food waste! Store this generous 1.5 gallon Compost Keeper in your under sink cabinet or your countertop. This plastic-free Compost Keeper is made to last and is large enough to accommodate plenty of food scraps until you are ready to drop them off for composting or transfer them to your home compost. Conveniently store peelings, baked goods, beans, cooked meat, dairy, egg shells, coffee grounds, fruits, grains, pasta, and other fruit and vegetable clippings. The stainless steel finish is attractive for any kitchen decor. It includes an odor preventing charcoal filter in the lid. Keeping the lid on between use prevents bugs from being attracted to the contents. If you are using a composting service, check your local food collection requirements. BPI-certified liners are sold separately.
Tip: Locally, the City of Westerville offers a free drop-off composting service. Read more about it here.
Replacement Charcoal Filters
Our charcoal replacement filters are designed to fit our 1.5 gallon stainless steel Compost Keeper. You’ll want to let your food cool completely before placing it in your composter. It’s easy! Just pull old filters out and toss. Inside replacement packet are two filters: one square filter and one round filter. Insert the square filter first. Just push it into the lid next to the holes in the lid, using your hands. Insert the round filter second. It goes in the other part of the lid and does not touch the other filter. Just work it in with your hands. Change the filter about every 6 months to maintain an odor-free compost keeper. Effectiveness of filter can be affected by heat and humidity in your area.
Biodegradable Compost Liner Bags
Each box has a perforation for easily dispensing the 50 bags inside. Our bags are meant to be used with our 1.5 gallon stainless steel Compost Keeper, but they will fit most kinds of keepers and pails. Don’t worry -- these meet the most stringent compost standards by complying with the ASTM D6400 and EN13432 standards, are BPI Certified, and OK Compost Certified. Additionally, our compost liner bags meet the standards set by California Law SB1749. Our Biodegradable Compost Liner Bags help to maintain the cleanliness of your compost pail. They double as great pet waste bags, as well, so take them with you when you walk your pets, too!
Jute Graziella Tote
This all natural tote is made from jute, so it is stylishly made to last. Use it as a sturdy daily carry-all --- perfect as a market bag, a beach bag, or for an overnight adventure.
Green Haven Living is open during the Uptown Westerville Saturday Farmer’s Market! Swing by our store! Effective, May 22, 2021, our operating hours are changing to accommodate market shoppers:
Photo Credit: Chuck Kime - Orange Butterfly Milkweed
In the coming weeks, many homeowners will head to the nearest nursery or garden center to pick up a rainbow of non-native annuals to spruce up that landscaping, along with chemical weed killers and pesticides to maintain them. Millions of bags of chemically-treated potting soil will fill plant containers too. But, what if there are better, safer options that simplify everything for us? What is the value to a homeowner, gardener, or landscaper of choosing natives over non-natives? We packed this month’s blog post full of helpful information and recommendations for you to simplify and spend MORE time enjoying your outdoor space this year...and every year to come!
1.) It won’t be necessary to buy chemical fertilizers anymore.
Instead of purchasing chemical fertilizers, use a mixture of organic compost (your own or
purchased) and your existing soil. Given native plants are historically found in our region, this is the original growing medium to which they are best accustomed.
Tip: Here are 2 colorful, full sun native plants that are known to tolerate poor soil conditions:
Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
Mexican Hat Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
2.) You are hoping for an abundance of edibles from your vegetable and/or fruit garden
Many of the plants in your fruit and vegetable gardens (we’ll call them “edibles”) require pollination by bees, birds, and butterflies (among other important pollinators) to produce fruits, nuts, and
vegetables. Planting native species nearby that feed and support these important workers will help
your edible garden to thrive. And, of course, you can always enjoy the benefits of planting edibles
that are natives too.
Tip: Attract plenty of pollinators with these native varieties:
Orange Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Photo Credit: Donnie King - Gloriosa Daisy
3.) Native plants require less effort and expense than non-natives.
Non-natives often do not grow into nearly as strong or healthy plants simply because they are not
well-adapted to thrive under local conditions. Therefore, more work and products (often unsafe)
are required to maintain, feed, and protect them. Choosing native perennial plants can cut down on the need to purchase new plants as they return to their glory in your garden year after year.
Tip: Try these hardy perennial wildflower varieties:
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea pupurea)
Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
4.) Air pollution is reduced when native plants are used.
Native plants absorb and store excess carbon from the air. They also eliminate the need to mow or use other gas-guzzling equipment, which decreases pollution and saves you the cost of fuel.
5.) You’ll use less water and resources.
Did you know that lawns didn’t exist until they became a “fashionable” landscaping trend in 18th
century Europe? Obviously, it’s a trend that is still deeply culturally ingrained and its history is a
fascinating one. But, on a large scale, lawns have become problematic. Maintaining turf grass
requires pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides and A LOT of water. Aside from the expense, mowing,
bagging and edging your lawn takes up precious time. Replacing portions of your lawn with native
plants (including native grasses) will lessen your water usage, save you time, and save you money.
Tip: This native wildflower variety prefers dry conditions:
Clasping Coneflower (Rudbeckia complexicaulis)
Photo credit: Fritz Flohr Reynolds - Blue Wild Indigo
6.) Native plants can stop erosion.
The root systems of native plants drive themselves deeper into the soil. Fun fact: Some Midwestern
native prairie plants have root systems 15 feet deep! This breaks up the soil density and allows the
nutrient rich soil to store more water. So water run-off is much less likely to occur. In areas that are
prone to flooding, the right kinds of native plants can reduce the amount of water that collects.
Tip: Try this stunning native wildflower in wet areas. It can tolerate occasional flooding:
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
7.) Native plants can help reduce wildlife conflicts with people.
For you animal lovers who love to watch wildlife, you can probably already see the benefit that
native plants provide. However, there is an upside for those who prefer to keep wildlife at a distance. Hear us out!
The “pest” control industry has marketed their products and services in a way that preys on our fears
that animals and insects are “out for us” and that we must utilize their
products and services to “destroy them” before they destroy our gardens and landscapes. Our
thoughtless reaction is to wage war with them for the sake of “manicured landscaping”. We spray
dangerous concoctions all over our properties with the misguided hope of making as inhospitable
an environment as possible.
Meanwhile, countless species of wildlife and beneficial insects are at risk of extinction. When their
food sources are scarce, they will venture into areas where they are not wanted for a means to survive. When an abundance is provided in areas you dedicate to them, it actually reduces their
conflict with you. Plant a variety of native plants to support, feed, and shelter native wildlife of
all kinds. Every living organism has an important job to do in the natural world, so creating a more
natural place for them to thrive brings balance back into their environment and peace of mind for
Tip: Here are some great wildlife-sustaining varieties of native wildflowers:
Wild Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)
Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Blue Wild Indigo (Baptista australis)
Photo credit: Pieterv H. - Wild American Columbine
8.) Plants that are native to your area are perfectly adapted to varying weather conditions.
Have you ever feverishly covered your plants during a Spring cold snap? Do you bring your
containers indoors during the chilly nights and colder seasons? None of that is necessary if you use
Tip: Here are a few varieties of native wildflowers that have strong, sturdy stems:
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta)
Common Evening Primrose (Oenthera biennis)
9.) You want joy in your life? Let the hummingbirds entertain you! These birds are such
characters, it’s no wonder they are so well-loved. Native plants are necessary to support
Hummingbirds are migratory birds that travel thousands of miles north when the weather is
warmer. Usually, hummingbird season lasts roughly from mid-April to mid-October. An incredibly
strong will and survival instinct exists in these tiny birds. They have inspired generations and
generations of people who recognize the incredible odds these birds must overcome in order to
migrate and survive. Hummingbirds will undoubtedly entertain you with their acrobatics and
antics, if you provide a little TLC for them.
Tip 1: Hang a clean hummingbird feeder with homemade nectar: 2 cups of clean, filtered water + ½
c. sugar. No need to boil. Please do not use store bought nectars or nectars that have any coloring
or dye. Dyes are extremely harmful.
Tip 2: Hummingbirds also need natural sources of nectar. Here are 2 native wildflowers that supply it:
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Wild American Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
If you want to find out more about your area's native plants, visit this link from the National Wildlife Federation to search by zip code.
A special note:
Green Haven Livingwww.greenhavenliving.org is hosting a special Mother’s Day event on May 9th, 2021 called Celebrating Mother’s. This is a great opportunity to shop 3 local businesses in one location, as Scioto Gardens and Sunbear Studio & Gallery are joining us! You will find a broad selection of gifts — decor, home goods, facial and body products, jewelry (markdowns galore!), native plants, and local art. Click here to learn more!
Read our post: What kind of a world will we leave behind?
We'd love to see you at our store in Westerville, OH!
Founder of Green Haven Living, a Veteran of the United States Air Force, former Human Resources professional, and Environmentalist.