Recipe Wednesday: Spice up your ice! DIY flavored ice cubes

Warmer days and sunnier skies are upon us.  That means more outdoor gatherings, more entertaining to be done, and more glasses to be filled.  I came across DIY flavored ice cubes about one year ago when dining at what once was the Hotel Griffou in NYC.  They were so beautiful and so fun that I just had to learn to make my own at home.  These are great for large or small gatherings – for larger groups I will make 10+ trays and store the flavored ice in a large glass container with a lid in the freezer the night before. These are simple to make and compliment everything from water to lemonade to sangria.  Pop these babies in your A-Mason Mug and sip away!

Here are a few recipes for you to enjoy.  Trying this at home?  Have a flavor you recommend?  Let us know in the comments below…

Thyme Ice Cubes (Hotel Griffou, NYC)

Flavor: A pungent but mixable wave of the herb's oils.
How to pair it: Drop into a mix of Linie aquavit, Luxardo limoncello, and Hoegaarden wheat beer for a Northern European spin on the shandy.

Recipe: 3 five-inch fresh thyme sprigs and 2 cups water.

Using sharp scissors, cut away the horizontal dividers in a silicone ice mold, leaving three elongated sections. Place a sprig of thyme in each section, fill with water, and freeze. Makes 3 ice spears.

Berry Nice (Rachel Ray)

For a creative way to use those summerime berries, try this: Fill an ice cube tray halfwway with pureed raspberries then freeze.  Top with milk, then freeze again.  Serve in a fruit smoothie.

Lavender Ice Cubes

From mixologist Johnny Swet (the owner of Rogue & Canon and JIMMY at The James in New York City), a lavender flavored ice cube adds great flavor for spring-themed gin drinks and surprisingly paired with bourbon and bourbon-based cocktails. Boil water with 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers, and let it stand 5 minutes. Then, fine strain into your ice cube molds. If lavender is in season, place a fresh lavender flower in mold, and freeze solid.


Tags ,

Palm Desert to vote on 2015 plastic bag ban

The City Council for the desert’s largest retail hub could vote to phase in a ban on plastic shopping bags Thursday.

A ban endorsed by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments has already been passed by the councils in Palm Springs, Indio and Desert Hot Springs and voted down in Indian Wells.

Barbara DeBoom, president of the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber board hasn’t taken a position on a ban and feedback from local businesses hasn’t indicated opposition to it.

“Some of our members are supportive, and I haven’t heard from anyone who has a problem with it,” she said.

If adopted, the rules would kick in next year, on two different dates depending on the size of the retail business…

Read the original post by here.


Photo courtesy of

Tags , ,

Institute to present pollution lecture

SAN MARCOS — Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen, co-founders of environmental organization 5 Gyres, will deliver a public lecture on the growing hazard of plastic pollution Tuesday at Texas State University.

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall on campus. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring any personal care products that contain micro-beads as part of the first-ever "takeback" event held nationwide.

The 5 Gyres Institute advocates for a planet free of plastic pollution. A non-profit organization, 5 Gyres is dedicated to researching the issue of plastics in the world’s oceans and engaging communities in systemic change. In 2011, 5 Gyres completed the first global survey of plastic marine pollution, finding evidence of plastic across all five subtropical “gyres” — oceanic current systems where plastic waste accumulates.

Read the original post on here.


Tags ,

Take the Pledge Against Plastic Straws with us!

The pledges are rolling in, but we're still a ways away from reach our goal!

Every pledge receives a coupon for a FREE straws from us!

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 1.57.23 PM

Here's what to do:

1. Write your pledge and take a photo of it

2. Tell us why you you pledge against plastic straws

3. Use #pledgeagainstplasticstraws and @simplystraws
4. Post it to our Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.
5. Email Erica at with a link to your pledge.

Thank you!

Tags , ,

{Recipe Wednesday} A perfectly purple smoothie from fan Roseanne Pizarro

We love it when fans Instagram and Tweet their latest recipes adorned with one of our straws or mugs.  This week, we've chosen to share with you Simply Straws fan Roseanne Pizarro's (@rose_petalz) Purple Smoothie Recipe with purple kale, blueberries and more.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 9.40.58 PM

Serves 2

You will need: 2 cups filtered water, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup frozen blueberries, and 4-5 stalks of purple kale. For toppings you'll need raw hemp seeds and dried white mulberries.

Using a high speed blender, blend the water, banana, blueberries and purple kale until smooth. Top with hemp and mulberry seeds. If you don't have a high speed blender, blend purple kale with water first to break down the kale. Then add banana and blueberries and continue blending until smooth.

Enjoy! Rosie

Have a recipe you'd like to share with us? Share it via our Instagram or Twitter using #simplystraws.  Don't forget that each week we gift $15 Simply Straws credit to our favorite #simplystraws photo!
Tags , , , , , ,

Sonoma County’s ban on single-use plastic bags goes in effect

Sonoma County, CA — 

Sonoma County's ban on single-use plastic bags goes into effect Friday, but shoppers may face a mixed bag of policies until enforcement begins Sept. 1.

Some retailers who publicly supported the ban, such as Oliver's Markets, are embracing the ban and Friday will stop offering customers plastic bags and start charging them 10 cents per paper bag.

“We lobbied for this law we believe in it, so we're going to move forward and comply with the law fully,” said Tom Scott, general manager of Oliver's, which has two stores in Santa Rosa and one in Cotati.

Others like G&G Market are planning to work through their inventory of existing plastic bags and hold off charging shoppers for paper bags as long as possible.

“We're trying to not to burden our customers with one more thing and will be pushing off that fee as long as we can,” said Teejay Lowe, CEO of G&G Supermarkets, which has stores in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

Read the original post on


Image via

Tags , ,

Students make pitch to ban plastic bags

NEWBURYPORT — Almost a dozen middle, charter and high school students last night asked city councilors to pass a measure that will ban the use of thin plastic bags used for carrying out purchased items from local stores.

In an orchestrated presentation, the youngsters stated that plastic bags can be deadly to marine life in the ocean, especially to whales.

They also stated that the energy used to produce the billions of plastic bags used annually in the U.S. each year uses up a great deal of fossil fuel that could be directed to other uses.

Read the original post on here.


Photo courtsey of

Tags , , ,

Sausalito council votes for plastic bag ban

Sausalisto, Ca. — 

Sausalito residents will have six months to get used to the idea of using their own reusable bags when shopping in town after the city council joined municipalities around the state and voted to ban plastic carryout bags.

The ordinance, which should go into effect in September, will ban specified retailers from distributing plastic carryout bags and should reduce the number of plastic bags by an estimated 2.4 million each year, Sausalito Senior Engineer Andrew Davidson said.

Read the original post by here.


Photo courtesy of:

Tags , ,

San Francisco Ban Of Plastic Water Bottles

San Francisco, Ca. — Bottled water is getting closer to being banned in San Francisco.

The environmentally “conscious” City by the Bay is moving closer to banning sales of the plastic water bottles at events held on city property. Legislators there unanimously voted to end the sale and distribution of plastic bottled water on municipal property, bringing the city nearer to its goal of diverting all its waste from landfill or incineration by 2020.

It isn’t just San Francisco that is becoming more environmentally friendly, there are six states and at least 140 other American cities, such as Seattle, that have also officially stopped buying bottled water with municipal money. San Francisco, though, is the first major city to prohibit vendors from selling it on their property.

Read the original post on

Watch the video coveage here:

Cindy Chew 7/11/10 Water bottle

Photo courtesy of

Tags , ,

A message from Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson




What does it mean to be a champion?  Yes, it means to be the best at something.  
But it also means to stand up for something you believe in.

Being able to represent my country in the Winter Olympics was an incredible experience. But I also worry that tomorrow's athletes may not have that chance.  

According to a recent report, of the 19 cities that have previously hosted the Winter Olympics, only 6 of them will still be cold enough to host the games by 2080.

Climate change is something that both myself and many of my fellow Olympians are concerned about – so much so that over 100 athletes from 11 countries signed on to 
a letter written by one of our U.S. Olympic team members, Andy Newell, asking world leaders to take action on climate change in advance of next year's world climate talks in Paris.

However, if we are going to have any sort of shot at stopping climate change we need your help.  

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to Protect Our Winters today!  

Jamie on her way to winning the first-ever Olympic gold medal awarded for women's slopestyle.


Protect Our Winters' mission is to unite and mobilize the winter sports community to lead in the fight against global climate change.  By supporting POW, you are not only helping those of us who live to enjoy our mountain playgrounds, you are helping to protect communities and families who rely on a healthy snowpack – not just here in the mountains, but in the valleys and cities below.  From ski instructors to river guides, hotel operators and retailers, farmers and fishermen, we all rely on a consistent winter season.

This is your chance to be the champion you've always wanted to be. Make a difference in fight against climate change and make a donation to Protect Our Winters now.


Jamie Anderson
2014 Olympic Gold Medalist


Tags ,