Friday, May 31, 2013

Hi everyone - I'm taking a gardening day today and that is why you won't see an post for today other than this quick note. Thanks for understanding... the garden beckons! :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Climate discussions

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. 
Life is about creating yourself.”

~ George Shaw

-- Announcement -- 
 Lucky us... our website was hacked again. *sigh* - so we've decided to change our site host in hopes that this solves the issue, as suggested by an IT friend of ours ... ( Thanks for the advice, George! ). Please be patient with us while we make this change over - it may take a week or so to get the main site back online. Apologies for the inconvenience... however you can still find us via the radio show page, here on this blog and also over on the social networking sites:

-- Conscious Discussions Talk Radio -- 


* Airs live @ 10-11 AM (Pacifc)  - all episodes are archived indefinitely within moments after they air live, and are available for you to listen to later on at any time of day.

 Sign up via itunes for the Conscious Discussions Radio show: 

Mike Bellamente is the Project Director of Climate Counts - a not for profit organization. Prior to joining Climate Counts, Mike served four years as primary environmental liaison for a national economic development nonprofit in Washington DC. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill he was appointed team lead representing the U.S. Economic Development Administration to conduct economic impact analyses for affected communities; Mike was also selected as an external panel adviser for the 2010 EPA. We are going to learn about these experiences, but will focus on the Climate Counts Organization and how the average, everyday individual can play a role in improving the current conditions on this planet. -->

Access the live (10-11 AM Pacific) or archived episode:


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yoga for the Hands

As most of my readers are already aware, I’ve been doing reviews for about 15 years on a variety of different items, and when I do receive a product for review it is sent to me free of charge. I don’t accept any payment for doing a review and will only recommend products or services that I would use myself and truly believe the product and company focus on making the world a better place. A full description of the review policy can be found on the blog’s review page: Brummet’s Product Reviews.

I’ve been involved in a car accident that left me with many aching injuries and due to the hard labor in my life I’ve developed arthritis in several joints. As a writer and member of the media I spend a lot of time on the keyboard and my hands really do ache within just a few hours of office time. Being an avid gardener and do-it-yourselfer my hands often ache when using clippers and heavy shoveling activities. As such, I was excited to have the opportunity to try out the YogaPro Celery Stick and YogaHands products, but was slightly skeptical as to the effectiveness and validity of their claims. After receiving the items in the mail that Steve Olson sent our way I was pleasantly surprised at how effective they really are. The package arrived in a slender plastic envelope and encased in a small plastic container (both are recyclable in our area) with a paperboard informational card printed on both sides.

According to their site the YogaHands helps relieve hand cramps, fatigue, carpal tunnel symptoms and eases arthritis. I tried the yoga hands product right away and found there was a slight ache for about 10 seconds initially, and then again for about 10 seconds after I removed it followed by a rush of heat and a slight tingle that evaporated in a matter of a few seconds – and then I felt this real freedom from the chronic ache I have in my hands, especially a few arthritic joints. The next day I tried the yoga hands tool for about 4 minutes on each hand and noticed that I experienced much less fatigue during the day in the office. Since then I’ve been using the tool in the evening or afternoon at the end of every day for about 5 or 6 minutes and look forward to the relief it provides my hands. The more I use it, the better they seem to feel. My husband was influenced by the results I had been noticing and has begun to use this lightweight hand-stretching therapy tool as well even though his hands are much larger than mine.

The Celery Stick has a wonderfully natural aroma and comes in a glass tube with a screw top and a rolling ball applicator - making the application process extremely easy, with no wasted product and no mess involved. I wasn’t sure if the product was having an effect on my arthritic joints, but kept using it every night while watching TV. I soon realized that there was less cracking sounds coming from the joints and they ached a little bit less. I hope this effect will continue to improve with long-term exposure to this all-natural product. The product contains, very simply, Arnica and Celery Seed oils – known for their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. When the inflammation is reduced it opens the pathways for natural body fluids to circulate providing proper nutrition and waste cycles to heal the area naturally. Arnica oil comes from the bright yellow flowers of the arnica plant and is traditionally used for sore joins and bruising commonly incurred from gardening and sports. Celery seed oil is obtained through a steam distillation of the seed itself and while the oil is most commonly used as an aide to digestion, menstrual and kidney issues, it is also used in flavoring, perfumes, soaps and hair products. In this case however the Celery Stick is meant for topical applications only where the oils work together to provide anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory relief and for boosting circulation to joints and muscles. 

The Yoga Hand retails for $39.95 (US) and the Celery Stick retails for $9.95 (US) , however the company offers economic international shipping charges and a 30-day Money Back Guarantee. Additionally, people can get a 25% off coupon for any products on the site if they sign up for the newsletter: 

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Business - partnering with charity

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. 
When you realize there is nothing lacking the whole world belongs to you.”

~ Lao Tzu


-- Conscious Discussions Talk Radio -- 


* Airs live @ 10-11 AM (Pacifc)  - all episodes are archived indefinitely within moments after they air live, and are available for you to listen to later on at any time of day.

 Sign up via itunes for the Conscious Discussions Radio show: 
--> Nathalie Sloane is the Development Director for The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and is here today to speak on the importance of businesses partnering with charities. Nathalie is a loving and devoted mother to her children and very dedicated employee serving the mission of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and to continually create awareness. She is also a passionate volunteer. Join with us to hear about all of these endeavors and how businesses can benefit from partnering with charities

Access the live (10-11 AM Pacific) or archived episode:


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Monday, May 27, 2013

reducing plastic, innovation

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“…Writing is writing; it is not outlining, 
it is not just talking about writing, 
it is not discussing character development – 
it is like driving at night in the fall with the lights on 
you can only see a few feet in front of you 
but you can make the whole trip that way. 
And that is how I write, and how I think everybody writes. 
People who feel that they don’t have the time to devote to it can write that way. Just don’t give up. ”

~ Judy Nichols

Click link below to access the full discussion with Judy: 

-- Positive News -- 

I find it fascinating how people are coming up with new ways to make technological advancements  greener:

A Japanese beverage company will soon be releasing a lighter 2L plastic bottle (formally 36.2 grams will become 29.8 grams) which means they will consume less plastic per bottle and have less weight involved in the transportation of their products to retailers. It will be interesting to see how a lighter bottle affects refunds at bottle depots.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gardening in May and Soil Ammendments


-- Quote of the Day -- 

“The secret of heath for both mind and body is 
not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, 
but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

~ Siddhartha Guatama

-- Conscious Discussions Talk Radio -- 


* Airs live @ 10-11 AM (Pacifc)  - all episodes are archived indefinitely within moments after they air live, and are available for you to listen to later on at any time of day.

 Sign up via itunes for the Conscious Discussions Radio show: 

Sunday Gardening episodes air every 2-3 weeks from March - October annually featuring topics like biodynamic, sustainable, organic gardening and landscaping using square foot, interplanting and succession crop methods, permaculture and layering in landscaping practices. Today's topic: Gardening in May & Soil Ammendments
We always welcome questions from gardeners around the world – if you are having problems or questions pertaining to the topic of the day simply call in or drop in the live chat room.

Access the live (10-11 AM Pacific) or archived episode:

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Conscious Marketing Tips

-- Marketing Consciously --

I’ve been in the world of writing for nearly 18 years now starting out as a freelance writer and book reviewer, later moving into staff writing positions, and now I focus on marketing the books 5 books I’ve written so far, running a radio show and managing a blog. With this background I’ve had the opportunity to develop relationships with editors, acquisition officers, agents, publishers, reviewers and promotional agents – and through these relationships I’ve learned three important skills.

Ø  1st: that writers have to put themselves in the contact’s shoes to really understand what they need from us.

Ø  2nd: to develop relationships with people in the industry.

Ø  3rd:  to keep networking relationships alive.

While these points could really entail an entire book – I’d like to cover them briefly here.

#1 – Put Your Self In Their Shoes:

Writers need to understand who the contact is that we are trying to reach and what the really need to see from us. We have to realize that these people are inundated with sometimes thousands of communications a day – and most of those end up in the trash bin. To stand from all those letters we need to prove that we understand and can write for their audience, that we have studied their site, their publication, and their guidelines prior to sending a communication their way.

#2 – Develop Relationships:

We need to be friendly, yet professional in our communications – and once we’ve been able to work with that person we should keep in contact. Offer resources, recommend writers to them, continue submitting work to them – but never, ever inundate them. We can also meet people in the industry through social networking sites, meet with peers in the industry, join forums and chat rooms and listen to interviews.

#3 – Keep Networking Relationships Alive:

Networking is by far my favorite form of marketing because it creates a sense of supportive friendship with others in the industry. Obtaining mutually beneficial networking relationships will take a lot of work, at first – but once we have a list of contacts we need to keep reaching out to them. At the same time we don’t want to bombard them and bore them or wear out their welcome. Unless I have a specific reason to contact an individual, I tend to send out communications to every one on my list once every 6 months to a year. So rather then reaching out each time something new comes along like winning an award, I’ll wait until I can share things like new networking opportunities, or a new look to the website, or several new products out. It is important to avoid having the communication come across as: ‘I want something from you’. Instead it should read as: ‘I have something to offer you, and perhaps we can work together on this project.’ I always close the communication by letting them know how important they are to me.

No matter what form of marketing or promotions that are going on that day, I will focus on these three rules and the results can be amazing. People really appreciate that I’ve taken the time to acknowledge and reach out to them, and later on they will often reach out to me offering networking opportunities they’ve come across, or refer other contacts to me.

The key to successful marketing is to avoid the self-centered thinking of: ‘what is in it for me?’ - but to change that to ‘what is in it for them?’

Lillian and her husband Dave are award-winning authors and owners of the Brummet Media Group ( - offering book publishing services from formatting to cover design, graphic design and promotion material creation, books and CD's, the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio: and the Brummet's Conscious Blog: Lillian invites you to network with her via her radio show, or her blog where you can submit articles or poetry for consideration, or for a World of Writing interview. When you have time check out the new edition of: Purple Snowflake Marketing - How to Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd, via Smashwords or Create Space

Friday, May 24, 2013

Product Review, Natural Teeth Whitening System

-- Product Review --

 I was thrilled and excited to receive an invitation from Judith Cassis to review the Zero White Teeth Whitening System (which retails for $399 US). The product was shipped on April 8th and arrived here on April 16th… just 8 days later. Whitening Lightning describes itself as a conscious teeth-whitening company that strives to make a difference in people’s lives, while going easy on the planet. The Zero White System uses a special natural oxygenation process to dissolve stains, won’t cause sensitivity, is safe to use on crowns, veneers and caps, is cruelty free, and is made from all natural ingredients like glycerin, mint oil, aloe vera juice, pomegranate and chamomile extracts. There are no disposable trays and is packaged in 100% recyclable paperboard packaging. Each kit contains: 1 paper shade dial (ranging from #1 to #16) to help you determine the current color of your teeth and how many shades lighter you get after doing the treatments – 1 clear plastic dispensing tub about the size of the tip of your little finger, a hand held LED light, 5 ml of gel in a clear plastic syringe for easy application, a plastic applicator brush, 3 disposable teeth wipes, and a specially designed pen. The items in the kit, except the pen and teeth wipes, are all recyclable. Once the kit is used up customers can visit the site for refills for the gel syringe, and they can purchase other items singly such as the ZeroWhite Whitening Pen.

About 3 or 4 years ago I had my teeth professionally whitened because they were going to put in a new front tooth (that had to come out) and they wanted to get my teeth back to their original color first. I have to say that it was a real process – first they had to do a cleaning, then they made a special custom tray that ended up being quite flimsy and I had to put messy gel in the tray every night for 2 weeks that made my gums feel like I had rubbed salt in them. The Zero White System makes it so much easier: I first matched my tooth color with the color wheel provided which was between #9 on the dial) and using the brush provided in the kit painted on about a toothpaste application amount which was enough to coat front and back of all my teeth twice. The blue LED light has a scuba-mouth guard that was very comfortable to use. I wasn’t sure if it was OK to swallow the saliva that was created while waiting for the light to do its thing, so I used a soft washcloth to eject the saliva out the side of my mouth instead just to be safe. After the oven timer went off signaling that 20 min. had gone by, I simply brushed my teeth and prepared for bed. The next morning after the first gel application I noticed that the most of stains I had were gone and my teeth had definitely gone a shade or two lighter. 3 days later my husband tried the gel-light application and his teeth really showed the difference, he went from #12 on the dial to #7. I did another treatment six days later – this time removing any remaining color on the front bottom teeth completely and my teeth rated #7 on the dial. I noticed that the instructions stated that teeth will vary in natural, original color – some people will have bright white teeth, others may have slightly grayer teeth. And that is just their natural color. But this kit will get you back to your natural color for sure.

I was a bit confused as to the ongoing application of this amazing kit for a couple of reasons. The box stated there are supposed to be 3 applications, but after the first application I noticed there was a lot more gel in the syringe – enough for 5 or possibly 6 more treatments. There wasn’t a recommendation for the frequency of the gel-light application, so I wasn’t sure how often the treatments should be done. Similarly the instructions didn’t state when the pen should be used although it did state that the pen works best if applied at bedtime for 14 days – which led me to assume that the pen was to be used as a 2-week treatment.

Rather than make assumptions I contacted Jennifer Gerard (President and CEO Whitening Lightning) to get some clarification. From her I learned that the kits contain enough gel in the syringe for 5-6 treatments but the kit only comes with 3 wipes (to dry the teeth prior to application) – the reason behind this is some people may require more gel then others. For those who find there is more gel left after the 3 applications, they can always use a washcloth to dry the teeth once the wipes are used up. The instructions do not offer information as to frequency for pen or the gel-light treatments, or how often – for a reason; people will find that there will be a varying degree in regards to stains and colors on the teeth… so one person might have to several gel-light treatments in order to achieve the whiter smile they are looking for, while another may only need to do one treatment. Generally speaking after one or two gel-light treatments (depending on the state of your teeth) one would then use the pen for a week. They recommend using the pen starting the night after the gel application because teeth actually have pores that open up when exposed to the LED light and the pen will work most efficiently while those pores are open. Then after about 3-6 months do another gel-light treatment or two (as required) and follow up with the pen for one week. Once the kit is exhausted, most of their customers can get by with touch up treatments using just a pen for a 15-day period every 3-6 months, and won’t likely have to use the gel-light system for up to 2 years.

This advice from Jennifer was very timely as I had just completed a second gel-light treatment and so I was able to follow up with a 7-day pen treatment. The pen is incredibly easy to use – just twist the bottom of the pen to release some gel on the paint-brush like tip and apply to the teeth, then grin for 60 seconds to allow the gel to dry, leave overnight and brush upon waking in the morning. After a week of using the kit I noticed a much brighter look to my teeth and after checking the dial found that I achieved a #6 shade. Dave received a greater improvement, as he’s never had his teeth whitened before, so he saw about 5 shades improvement. He started with two separate gel-light treatments and we noticed that his teeth were noticeably whiter, but still had some yellowish streaks that were fairly prominent. He used the gel pen for four nights and most of those streaks disappeared to give him an even color all around.

Both my husband and myself are very pleased with the results and highly recommend this company to our readers. I think we both smile now more then we did before :) Find out more about this company via:

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Referral Corner

-- Quote of the Day -- 

 “I don’t have a car or a TV or an iPad, so when I walk around 
I experience the world and I am a part of the world 
and it makes me happier to be getting exercise 
and getting sunlight and interacting with other people 
in a way I don’t think would be humanly possible
 if I lived in a car and commuted 2 hours a day.”

~ Ellen Quigley

-- Referral Corner --

This section of our blog allows us a chance to celebrate and recommend some of the amazing non-profits out there...

Sports Gift is focused on providing sports to impoverished and disadvantaged children throughout the world and promoting sports related community service


National Youth Leadership Council transforms classrooms, empowered teachers, and captivated students by leading the way in providing high quality, dynamic, service-learning content to school districts, classrooms, out-of-school youth programs  and everything in between. "At NYLC we strive for a world where all young people are valued and called upon to lead. With passion, creativity, and ingenuity, young people are making change happen!"


Youth Service America supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA’s work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities.


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


--  How Do You Make Great Compost? --

Composting is a great way to recycle your kitchen and yard waste, resulting in an organic fertilizer for your garden, plants, and even grass. There is really no wrong way to compost, but there are a few rules to follow and some advice in order to make the best compost possible.

You really can't go wrong by adding your kitchen and yard waste to your compost pile. All organic material will eventually decompose. However, the best compost is made by mixing small amounts of nitrogen-rich materials, such as kitchen scraps, spent plants, and lawn clippings with large amounts of "dry brown" carbon-rich materials such as fall leaves. Dead fall leaves are filled with trace minerals and nutrients that the tree's roots extracted from deep in the earth. These minerals and nutrients are missing in ordinary chemical fertilizers that you buy from gardening centers. It is best to shred the leaves before adding them to your pile in order to prevent them from getting matted together and blocking oxygen from reaching all parts of your compost. Dead leaves are one of two things that can be composted all by themselves (the other is barnyard manure, which we will discuss more later).

If you live in a place where fall leaves may not be an option for you or if you have started composting in a season other than autumn and have not stored any leaves from the previous fall, there are a few more options for adding carbon materials to your compost bin, although they will not add as much nutrients as dry leaves. These are straw (not hay), cornstalks, sawdust, woodchips, paper, and dried flowers or plants that have turned brown. Make sure that any big pieces are chopped up or shredded and if paper or sawdust are added that you make sure and mix well to avoid matting. Do not add any bleached paper. Shredded newspaper (black and white sections only) can now be added since the ink is soy-based instead of petroleum-based. However, as I said before if it is at all possible to get fall leaves do it. They are the best source for adding carbon-rich material to your compost pile or bin. A great way to have them available all year is to collect leaves in the fall and shred them right away- they will shrink in volume once they are shredded so you will be able to store more that way.

As far as nitrogen- rich materials, grass clippings are a great source although you may want to just leave them on your lawn as this can improve your grass. Another great source is, of course, your kitchen scraps. This includes any vegetable or fruit waste such as lettuce leaves, uneaten apple cores, and trimmed off roots. Any item that is large such as broccoli stalks or whole fruits should be chopped up into about one inch pieces (or at least quartered) before adding it in. Pieces that are too big will take longer to decompose. Tea bags and coffee grounds (including the filters if they are unbleached) of are also good to add in. Coffee grounds are one of the richest sources plant-feeding, compost-heating nitrogens there are. So if you don't drink coffee at home grab the left-over grounds from the office. You won't want to leave them out! Egg shells are a great way to add calcium to your compost. Just make sure that there is no egg left inside- give them a good rinse off, air-dry and crushing before throwing them in. Egg shells can prevent blossom-end rot in tomatoes, improve the health of your plants, and make vegetables taste better! If you live by a body of water and have access to seaweed add that to your compost as well. Seaweed is rich in micronutrients.

Now that you have a good idea what you should put in your compost bin, you probably are wondering if there are any things you cannot add or should avoid adding to your pile. Do not add egg insides, meat, bones, fat, dairy, or animal products. However, there is one exception. If you are composting inside a high-quality closed unit you can include lobster, crab, and shrimp shells. They are powerfully rich in nitrogen and will get your compost cooking hot. You should also not add charcoal or briquets, coal ashes, contaminated materials, pet or human waste, and plants affected with disease or severe insect attack where eggs may be present. Ivy and succulent plants, if not shredded or chopped shouldn't be added because they may start to grow in your compost bin or pile. This is the same for pernicious weeds. Never add weeds if they are in the seeded stage as you may end up with a pile full of weeds and once you add the compost to your garden you may be adding weeds to it as well. Do not add paper that has been chemically treated such as magazines or juice cartons which may have a plastic lining. You should not compost any nitrogen material alone. You will end up creating more of a garbage dump than compost and produce a horrible smell. All nitrogen-rich materials should be combined with carbon materials.

Although most people do not have access to barnyard animals, manure is a wonderful source for compost. It usually comes with bedding (straw or wood shavings) and has the ideal nirtogen- carbon ratio. Manure is the only other material that can be composted by itself besides dead leaves. However, this does not include feces from any meat- eating animal. Only include herbivore manure- horses, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, poultry, etc. Human and pet waste will carry too much of the wrong bacteria and will contaminate your pile and then your garden.

Composting is not just about what you put into your pile. It also has to do with water and oxygen. Compost needs the right amount of moisture and air to do its job properly. Now there are two different kinds of composting- both work but there is definitely a difference in the quality. The first is Cold Composting. Cold composting or anerobic composting is made without oxygen. It is the "pile it all up somewhere and eventually it will rot" kind of composting. This way is perfectly fine. For those who don't have a lot of time to spend, but still want to recycle their kitchen and yard waste this is a perfectly fine option and it is certainly better than throwing your organic waste in the garbage. Any organic matter will eventually decompose and become compost. However, this method may create a "garbagey" smell.

The second method is Hot Composting or aerobic composting. The center of a perfectly made pile will heat up to as much as 160 degrees, creating compost in the shortest amount of time possible and killing weed seeds and disease spores. After the compost cools and is reduced in volume by 1/3 to 1/2 it is ready to be checked for "doneness". When finished it should be like a wet sponge in consistency, dark and rich in color, and with a nice earthy odor- no questionable smells. In order to create hot compost you should keep a balance of about 4 parts shredded leaves to about 1 part "wet-green" nitrogen-rich material, by volume. The moisture content should be between 40%-60%. Which means your compost should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge or look damp and glistening underneath the top layer. Mixing your compost is a great way to increase the flow of oxygen throughout your pile. There are tools on the market that can help with that or compost tumblers that can be turned with a handle that make mixing a bit easier. If your compost is not getting enough water or air try poking holes in your pile with a stick or the end of a broom. You can use your hose to add water into those holes. If your pile is too wet add dry leaves or other "brown" material.

So now you know what to add and what to leave out of your compost pile. you also know that you should have a good balance of nitrogen and carbon-rich materials. The key to good composting is the diversity of materials. Different sizes, textures, and chemical compositions of materials make for better compost structure, drainage, and nutrient content. Most of all you need to have the three main ingredients- Food, Water, and Oxygen- just like any living thing!
Annie Nowicki would like you to visit her website at:

You will find many products there to help you get started composting or improve your composting. Best of Luck!
You can also visit us on Twitter @composter_etc or on facebook at

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!