Last year’s beg bug scare led many of us to examine that overlooked daily companion, our mattress.  But Michael Penny was way ahead of most of us -- he made it his life’s work to create a healthy, comfortable, organic and non-toxic mattress as an alternative to conventional ones. What would lead a yoga-practicing, organic-food-eating marathon runner to start a mattress company?  He couldn’t sleep. Michael had insomnia, ironically at its worst while he was working for a futon company. In part, what he’d learned about materials and practices in the mattress industry was keeping him awake. So he resolved to create a new kind of mattress company that offered a new level of quality and service. In 2003, The Savvy Sleeper opened in Charlottesville, Virginia, drawing customers from as far away as Baltimore and North Carolina. Finding an organic mattress to sell was a tall order. Even the biggest companies in the “natural mattress” niche were using only some organic materials, or making mattresses that weren't very comfortable. So Michael and his team decided to make their own. Toxic chemicals are used widely in the mattress industry today, and their long-term effects are worrisome. All Savvy Rest Organic Mattresses are made of natural Dunlop or Talalay latex rubber, with durable casings of certified organic wool and certified organic cotton. Customers can choose very firm, very soft, or anything in between for their Savvy Rest Mattress, with differing firmness on each side. And a natural latex mattress performs consistently for decades—Savvy Rest Organic Mattresses offers a 20-year warranty on their mattresses. Savvy Rest offers its customers three ways to shop: in person at an authorized dealer, online or over the phone. Their website walks customers through the basics of mattress shopping, and delves into the benefits of chemical-free mattresses and how to fit a mattress to provide customized comfort that’s best for you. The Savvy Rest commitment to its customers is based on four tenets:  purity, comfort, integrity and value. From a few trend-setting retailers just a few years ago, they now have a large network of over 60 independently-owned dealers across the states who have responded to Savvy Rest’s reputation for quality, integrity and service. And shop this weekend to enjoy reduced prices before a February 1st increase!
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 14:54

Soul Flower – Cool Threads for Kind Heads

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A Saint Paul, Minnesota, landmark bohemian clothing shop is now a soulful online boutique. Soul Flower was founded in 1999 by Peggy Rossi and Mike Shoafstall as a way to promote a bohemian, eco-friendly and peaceful lifestyle. The little shop on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul was a gathering place for college students and locals looking for cool goods with “hippie” flair. Add some vending at local events and festivals, and Soul Flower quickly grew as a popular local shop. There have been a few changes since those days. They no longer have a retail store, but do have a mail order catalog, a digital catalog, and an online shop. Although no longer a physical store, Mike and Peggy have tried to create an inviting and simple online shopping experience where you can feel the soulful vibe. One thing that hasn’t changed is their dedication to bringing their customers unique clothing styles and goods that help them to express who they are in a positive, fun and affordable way. Soul Flower is a “lifestyle” store with an emphasis on products that are made from organic cotton or hemp. They offer everything from funky clothing for women and men to cool duds for the little ones.  Soul Flower is committed to its community and to environmental organizations that “help make this world a better place.”  They believe in being green and print their catalog just twice a year (using soy inks and recycled paper) to reduce their carbon impact.  The clothing and goods sold by Soul Flower are primarily from Fair Trade companies, made in cooperatives or are from small independents in the USA. Soul Flower strives to do their very best to give back and keep the positive vibes going by donating to a number of organizations, such as the Arbor Day Foundation, Camp Courageous, the Iowa Food Bank, after-school arts programs, Conservation Corps, Vega Productions and “Carbonfund has given us the opportunity to eliminate our carbon footprint, and by doing so, it brings us closer to our goal of running a successful business with a minimum impact on the environment,” Mike said. Mike and Peggy are passionate and committed to continue creating the same friendly, community-related atmosphere online that they had at the shop. It can be a tough act - personalizing the internet - but they believe the littlest things make a big difference. As Mikes puts it, “Our company has always been defined by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated and everything else will be fine. So, when you're happy, we're happy."
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:40

Sneak Peek at New EVs from Detroit Auto Show

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) stole the show at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As if showing up without a battery-powered prototype was just bad manners, automakers dutifully curated their collections to show off the latest engineering in emission-free vehicles. Volkswagon Golf Blue E-Motion Hits the market: 2014 Stats: Goes from 0-62 mph in 11.8 seconds Tops out at 84 mph Driving range is 93 miles Tesla Roadster Hits the market: Already out Stats: Goes from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds Drives 245 miles per charge Plugs into nearly any outlet anywhere in the world [caption id="attachment_7590" align="alignnone" width="524" caption="Image courtesy of"][/caption] Honda Fit EV Hits the market: Scheduled for 2012 Stats: Five passenger, four door hatchback 100 mile driving range Tops out at 90 mph [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="564" caption="Image courtesy of"][/caption] Ford Focus Electric Hits the market: Late 2011 Stats: 112 mile driving range Tops out at 100 mph Electric Vehicle app allows you to monitor your car's battery life from your smartphone Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell Hits the market: Unknown Stats: Gullwing doors (hinged at the top) 60 kWh lithium battery and four electric motors 130 miles driving range Goes from 0-60 mph in four seconds Porsche 918 RSR Concept Car Hits the market: Don't hold your breath Stats: 563 horse power at 10,300 rpm Two 75-kW electric motors powering the front wheels only Boosts maximum power to 767 horse power Captures energy from breaking and re-releases it with the push of a button
All images courtesy of

Monday, 24 January 2011 16:43

Environmental Standouts at Sundance Film Festival

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Over the years the Sundance Film Festival has introduced a number of groundbreaking environmental documentaries that surprised the world with the depth and scope of their popularity. Films like The Cove, An Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car all debuted at the annual Salt Lake City festival and leveraged their critical acclaim to catapult their message into the public eye, garnering support and notoriety along the way. This year's film festival is at about the half-way point and includes two environmentally focused films that are already sold out and booked solid. The Last Mountain
It’s easy to forget that each time we turn on a light, we are contributing to the ecological damage caused by the coal that generates electricity in this country. The Last Mountain gives us plenty of reasons to remember. Contaminated air, soil, and water; coal dust, cancer clusters, and toxic sludge are all by-products of this widespread energy source. Focusing on the devastating effects of mountaintop coal removal in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley, filmmaker Bill Haney illustrates the way residents and activists are standing up to the industry and major employer that is so deeply embedded in the region. With strong support from Bobby Kennedy Jr. and grassroots organizations, awareness is rising in the battle over Appalachian mountaintop mining. Forces are aligning to prevent coal removal on Coal River Mountain and preserve the region’s precious natural resources. Superb storytelling and exquisite photography combine to remind us that this environmental calamity impacts us all.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Marshall Curry’s documentary tells a timely story of political action and environmental beliefs at loggerheads. His reconstruction of the recent history and unraveling of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is a fascinating exploration of a modern revolutionary movement and its efficacy. Fusing fervent concerns about ecological imbalance and capitalism run amok, ELF members and sleeper cells employed economic sabotage by destroying facilities involved in deforestation to remove the profit potential from companies wreaking environmental destruction. Focusing on Oregon-based activist Daniel McGowan, Curry relates the tale of a mild-mannered, middle-class citizen driven to extremes and brought to trial on charges of terrorism for his participation in ELF-related arson plots. Detailing activists’ past disillusionment with public protest—and the police brutality and inertia that often followed—the film poses difficult questions about the possibility of effecting change from either within or without the system and examines the changed stakes for revolutionaries today in a world fixated on branding all dissenters as terrorists.

Not just smart, but environmentally conscious as well. The Rich Family has provided turn-key construction management, mechanical construction and energy savings solutions to small and large businesses in the greater northeast for almost 100 years. The original business was founded in 1918 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it was involved in the development of the city's thriving boardwalk scene.

Today RICH Energy Solutions (RES) focuses on energy consumption and renewable energy sources to address the sharp reality that the cost of fuel is a serious financial consideration to most businesses and facilities. In 1995 RES performed its first energy solutions retrofit for a large warehouse and furniture complex. RES secured financing for the project and used the energy savings to cover the interest and principle of the loan and provide a positive monthly cash flow for the customer. After hundreds of these projects, RES now has the ability to quickly analyze any facility and immediately determine the suitability and savings of their programs for the customer.  And the experienced staff at RES can help you navigate the various incentives and rebates available through state and federal programs to help realize additional savings. Rich Energy Systems has expanded its support of energy efficiency projects by committing to making donations to based on the volume of emission reductions they achieve on each customer's project. Now more than ever, it makes good business sense to adopt energy-efficient practices, install energy-efficient equipment, and support and install renewable energy systems. Not only will the energy improvements contribute to the economy and environment, but customers also realize bottom-line savings for their business. If you recognize the potential for huge energy savings in your building and you’re ready for bold steps to reduce your energy costs as soon as possible, talk to the Rich family today about their innovative solutions at (609) 407-2800.
Here’s a inspiring concept for the new year – a consumer finance company that is committed to its customers and to the environment! Euroloan Consumer Finance OYJ, based in Helsinki, Finland, provides instant consumer credit to customers throughout Europe. The company is an innovative market leader with a vision to be the most valuable service provider in the instant consumer finance business in Europe. The company’s business model provides a fully automated, web-based service that improves the loan process and offers customers the possibility to choose their own payment plan. Euroloan has been very successful in establishing and expanding its market position, with services currently available in 38 European countries. The management and personnel of Euroloan Consumer Finance Oyj are committed to protecting the environment, and they “walk the walk” in the following ways:
  • Minimize travel and maximize the efficient use of electronic communication
  • Use public transportation as much as possible
  • Reuse, save and recycle and use environmentally friendly  supplies
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water
  • Allocate money from each product sold for environmental protection
As an extra step, Euroloan has committed to donate $1 to for every ten loans granted to support environmentally-beneficial projects, including planting trees in deforested areas of the world. “We have found this complements our endeavour for a better environment and hope other companies will follow,” a bold stride and part of the Euroloan  environmental commitment.  Indeed – we at agree with our friends at Euroloan. If we all “walk the walk,” our efforts will have a significant collective impact on improving the health of our environment.
There really is an app for that? There are actually TWO apps for that! Available on iPhone and Android, shopkick is a new mobile app that gives you rewards simply for walking into stores, scanning products and signing up friends. With shopkick you earn “kickbucks,” which are points you collect to receive gifts and bonuses at millions of stores and restaurants in America, plus iTunes gift cards, Facebook credits, movie tickets, and much more. If you're feeling like a “do-gooder,” donate your kickbucks to 30 different causes, including For users, the concept is simple and the technology is amazing. Check into a store by scanning an item with the camera on your mobile phone and then tap on it. You’re in! In addition, users receive special promotional offers from corporate sponsors, which are delivered right to your phone as a barcode that can be scanned at the register, an easy, instant and paper-free way to save. For companies, going to this mobile app allows them to reach hundreds of thousands of users and shoppers by offering mobile deals and discounts. Shopkick also allows business to be associated with great causes, like supporting climate mitigation projects through the partnership with Want another app? CauseWorld works with, too! CauseWorld allows users to accumulate “karmas” when visiting various stores, with no purchase required, which can then be used for donations. With one karma, will offset two pounds of carbon emissions. The average American produces 50-100 pounds of carbon per day, so this is a great way to help offset your daily footprint. The concept of mobile altruism has certainly not gone unnoticed, with corporate sponsors like American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Simon Malls, Sports Authority, Target, Wet Seal (and many more), joining in to offer shoppers valuable promotions all over the country. To download and learn more about these apps, go to CauseWorld, shopkick, or watch this short video:
The growing cost of commuting -- in both time and money -- is making working from home more and more attractive. At the same time, technological advances are making it easier than ever to work from a home office.  There are a lot of advantages to working at home but, before you set your home office  up, there are a number of important factors to consider. [caption id="attachment_7423" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Another advantage to working at home: the casual dress code! (image courtesy of"][/caption] The first thing you'll need to think about is finding a space in your home to put your office that is 1) private , so that family members are not constantly interrupting you, and 2) accessible, if you plan to have clients or customers visit you in your office.  The den or a spare bedroom, for example, are obvious choices but what if you don't have a space like this?  Here are a few other options to consider that may not have occurred to you:
  • Basement: If you have a basement, this may be where you'll find the most available space.
  • Attic: An attic can be a large, quiet space–and also bright and cheerful, if you install skylights or roof windows.
  • Attached Garage: A garage will have easy and private access. It has quite a bit of room and can be finished off fairly easily. The big space left by the overhead door is a wonderful opportunity to design in some nice windows and/or door into your office.
  • Hallway: Hallways with niches or extra space are opportunities for small office spaces.
  • Closets: Closets are usually in short supply, so taking one over for an office space may not be a popular idea in your household. But possibly the closet contents can be moved to a basement area, attic area or someplace that is good enough for storage but not good enough for office space.
  • Sharing Space: A wall or two in the kitchen, living room, a bedroom or some other room may work for you. Possibly some office functions can be in one space and others in a second or third space (try setting up your computer in the bedroom and link to the printer in the kitchen).
The next thing you'll need to think about is your office furniture and supplies.  Most importantly, your desk.  Be sure it's big enough to accommodate your needs – one thing you'll find is that no matter how much work space you have, you could always use more!  As for office equipment, in addition to quality, why not consider other attributes like good looks and eco friendliness?  For example,  the GoECOlife shredders are not only highly reviewed in terms of quality and quietness, they are also eco friendly: [caption id="attachment_7429" align="alignright" width="100" caption="If there were only a beauty contest for shredders ..."][/caption]
  • Certified CarbonFree: To meet the rigorous standards of the CarbonFree Product Certification Program, GoECOlife™ assessed the carbon footprint of this product throughout its lifecycle and offset the carbon footprint of the product through investments in renewable energy and reforestation.
  • Energy Saving: GoECO Energy-Saving Technology prevents phantom power loss, so you use less energy and save money!
  • Meets RoHS standards that restrict the use of hazardous substances such as lead, mercury and other heavy metals.
  • Responsibly packaged.
Last but not least, they're beautiful! Learn more about the GoECOLife shredders on an upcoming episode of "World's Greatest", airing on the ION network January 21, 6:30AM ET. 9:30AM PT.