Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Days 22-31

Day 22- The Farm. So there is this fabulous local restuarant that serves local, organic and even vegetarian options. Everything from organic, local wines to in-season, local produce. I know, most of you just rolled your eyes, but TRUST me, you'll taste the difference, and MAKE a difference!

Day 23- Making Lotion. Some of you know that I'm in the process of perfecting a lotion recipe. I try my best to make all of my own skincare products, because your skin is your largest organ, and I do not want to put anything toxic or harmful on that organ. Once the recipe is perfected, I'll let you know, until then I just keep tweaking...

Day 24- Knitting Bag. Remember how you all made fun of me for saving ribbons at Christmas time? Well, I had some scrap material and some left over ribbons, which I used to make a bag for my knitting projects. Super quick and easy and $0 out of my pocket!

Day 25- Paperless Statements. This will take minutes! Go online to your bank, credit card companies, electric company, any and all bills you pay and select paperless. Make sure and check when you do it because a lot of companies offer discounts for doing so. Cut down on mail, and wasted resources!

Day 26- Buying Products with Less Packaging. This was more difficult than I anticipated for many reasons. You have brands that you like and trust, and this new venture has forced me to try new things. Also, I'm trying to buy things in the bulk bins, well that requires me to remember to bring my reuseable bags too. And, it requires me to be THINKING while shopping, so I have to read labels, think about packaging and price. It's becoming quite the intellectual exercise!

Day 27- Getting Involved! As many of you probably remember I went on a little rampage about how getting involved in your community is a HUGE part of sustainable living. One of the most important ways in my opinion to be involved is in our education system. I've been looking for ways to get involved with the school system, whether I just start attending school board meetings, or apply to teach art lit, etc. (if any of you have a good suggestion for how to "get in" let me know.)

Day 28- Shampoo/Conditioner. Again, the skin thing. You are using a soap that has so many chemical and synthetic ingredients, it's scary. I don't want to rub that all over my head. Well, making the change is much more difficult than I anticipated. I care probably too much about my appearance, and a huge part of that is my hair, so I want a shampoo that is going to not leave my hair looking or feeling dry or greasy! I've tried a couple brands now, on a new one and not loving it. Will keep you posted!

Day 29- Say NO to Bottled Water. I feel like this is a hot topic right now and most of you are aware of all the information. I'm working hard to avoid bottled water. People, drinking fountains are safe! Don't believe the garbage you've been told over the years, if it wasn't safe they would not be able to put a drinking fountain there, the water IS tested. I keep finding myself without a bottle though, so I put one in the car and one in my bag. That way I never have an excuse to buy water that was most likely poured into that water bottle from a tap, and then sat in that plastic in heated rooms so it's now full of toxins.

Day 30- No List! I HATE junk mail! Such a waste to everyday throw all this paper in the recycling! Go to http://www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/id=743 and for info on how to sign up for the no junk mail list. You have to send it to a couple different ones, sometimes, because your name gets put on lots of different lists!

Day 31- Knitting for Charity. I'm super excited about this. I'm learning to knit right now, and there's a group through Joann's (Fabric/Craft Store) that meets and makes blocks (little square pieces of blankets) and then puts them all together for charity. So it's a perfect way for me to learn to knit and give back!

Days 15-21

Sorry this is late! I was so busy celebrating my birthday:)

Day 15- Paperless News Sources. Newspaper can be recycled, but recycling takes energy. You're using the energy and resources to recycle the paper and then the energy and resources to print the newspaper. So, I've decided to buy an online subscription. Let's be honest, I'm more likely to read it this way anyways, maybe I'll cut down on my facebook time and actually read the world news! I also downloaded the BBC App on my phone!

Day 16- Compost. I finally started my compost at the new house. The previous owners left their big composter, I wasn't 100% sure how to use this type so I just looked it up online and got it going. Also started a sealed container to keep in the kitchen so I can go outside every couple days. For info on how to start your own e-mail me or Oregonians can go to www.metro.org.

Day 17- Light Bulbs. I went around and replaces all the light bulbs in rooms we use most with energy efficient ones. For the rest I'll wait until they burn out.

Day 18- Moth Control. UGH!! So frustrating, the previous owners clearly had a moth problem and we thought we had done a good job of cleaning everything so we wouldn't, but a few have popped up. So I bought a bunch of cedar products for the closet and then some NON-TOXIC (this is huge, because most moth control products are carcinogenic!) moth control products. For more info on this, or how it's going, e-mail me.

Day 19- Recovering Chairs. I told you last week I've been on a rampage of finding things we already have and reusing them somehow. Matt's parents were very generous and gave us their old kitchen table. Now that we are painting and re-doing the kitchen the table doesn't quite match, and the cushions are getting worn. So I'm just recovering the seats! Super easy actually and they look very cute!

Day 20- Sewing Class. Along this same line, this was a skill that I was taught, but have lost from lack of use. So I'm taking a sewing class. There are so many things in my life that I could hem/fix and reuse, or buy used and create to my liking, if I had the skill of sewing. Wish me luck!

Day 21- Business Cards. Tyler Siefken, my talented, amazing graphic designer has designed me some fabulous business cards. I wanted to make sure and find a place that printed on 100% recycled paper and we as environmentally conscious as possible. So still working on that, but I think I've settled on VistaPrint. Let me know if you have a better option...

Well, that's week 3. I feel like I have to be honest and share that there have been days where I've forgot and had to do 2 things the next day. I know that's not 100% my goal, but hey, I'm only human! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Newsletter format- Yes or No?

So because I'm wanting to really focus on the 365 Days of Sustainable Living, and turn this blog into a resource, I want to change the format of my newsletter. Before, the newsletter served as a resource with green tips and news on upcoming events, but now I'd like the blog to do that. So, what I'd like for the newsletter is to tell you BRIEFLY what's new, upcoming and where to find all the info. Do you think this format works well for that? I'd love your thoughts and feedback!

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Days 8-14

I'm getting so excited about this. I'm amazed at how easy this really is. I wake up and think about what my plans are for the day and just make one simple change! You can totally do this with me!

Day 8- Library Trip! It's amazing how good it still feels to get a new library card! I couldn't help but smile as she handed it over! I've been meaning to get a bunch of new books, and of course some books on home improvements, and what better place than the library! Saves trees and money! Had an amazing trip returning to the library I got my first library card at!

Day 9- Self Pedicure. So I've been trying to cut back on waste in my life, but also on my spending...So one of the things I decided was to do my pedicures. Now, I was once you, and thought, well that's not relaxing to do it myself! IT IS! I get a big bucket, fill it with warm water and 1/2 C. Epsom Salt and soak my feet for about 15-20 minutes. Then I dry them off, and use my sugar scrub (super easy to make!) to exfoliate. I bought a pumice stone and nice cuticle/nail clippers which I use in this step, but totally optional. Then finally, rinse, lotion and paint. I went to whole foods and got a non-toxic nail polish, yes, a little spendy, BUT I saved a lot of money not getting a professional pedicure. So again, saved money, while removing toxins from my life!

Day 10- Why change a good thing?. While visiting with a girlfriend I was commenting on her beautiful new cabinets, she then informed me, "they aren't new, we just updated them ourselves!" They looked fantastic! Like her cupboards, ours are in perfect condition, just dated. So instead of wasting the wood and resources to get new cupboards, we've been looking into just painting and updating them. Once I had this idea in my head I've been walking around the house finding other ways to keep what's in place and update it. Again, sorry to keep harping on this point, BUT, saving the earth while saving money!

Day 11- 2nd Hand Dishes. My dear wonderful mother bought me a full set of 8 dishes. Well, now there are about 3 plates, 5 bowls, 4 small plates, you get the picture. Again, I've been looking and looking at Macy's etc. for a new set, when it dawned on me! Goodwill! Why waste more resources? I'm going for the eclectic look and just collecting a bunch of dishes with the same type style. It not only is fun for me, but it's a lot cheaper!

Day 12- Cleaning the vents. This is HUGE! This does not just apply to home owners! Cleaning your vents is good for your health, prevents fires and cuts down on your energy bill! Make sure and vacuum out vents, fans (in the bathroom) and intake areas. Also, be sure and change your filters!

Day 13- Toxic Box. Over Christmas we went through a few batteries, of course we have some empty paint cans, we have some cleaners that were left by the previous owners and a few other miscellaneous items, so I started a box in the garage. Once it's full I plan to take it to our recycling center where they will safely dispose of all of those items for me, FOR FREE!

Day 14- Heartburn. Yes, it's true, I've had heartburn for years, it's an unfortunate family gene. So I've been married to Pepcid, Tums and Prilosec for years. I of course ate terribly over the holidays so it has been really bad lately. Instead of loading up on MORE drugs, I decided to actually practice some naturalpathic remedies I'd found. I'm drinking about 2-3oz of Raw, Unfiltered, Apple Cider Vinegar in equal parts water each morning. You do it before you eat anything. Obviously this was my first day, but so far, no tums...If you're interested in how this turns out let me know I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for following, please feel free to e-mail me if you have more specific questions on anything, I'm trying not to bore you with the details!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Days 1-7

So I apologize upfront that a lot of my sustainable changes will most likely apply to my new home. As I start to decorate, clean and organize my new home I'm having to adapt and break some good Ol' American habits. This week was one of those weeks...

Day 1- CLEANING! So as you as most of you know I had my family here for a week and all the holiday festivities. The house was pretty much a disaster after, so I had to come up with some creative alternatives for cleaning. Here are a few things I figured out: Tea Tree Oil removes tar from furniture/carpet (don't ask how it got there, thinking maybe from the move) My All-Purpose cleaner works well for cleaning beer from carpet! Then of course I used all my other green cleaning tricks for the rest of the mess (come check out one of my "Putting Mr. Clean to Shame" classes for more info)

Day 2- Painting Supplies. So the entire house needs to be painted. I walked into Lowes (home improvement store) and was overwhelmed with first, the amount of supplies I needed to buy to paint my house, and second, the amount of plastic, tape and toxic fumes involved! Lucky for me I was able to find lots of sustainable products. I found eco-friendly masking tape, masking paper made from 100% recycled paper, plastic covers that are bio-degradable and bio degradable paint pans. I was really happy with their options and prices.

Day 3- Paint. I did a lot research on paint! While researching I had 2 main concerns, which is the best paint overall, and which paint is the most eco-friendly. There were a couple options I found. I ended up buying Sherwin Williams' 0 VOC, eco-friendly paint. A close second that I found in my research was Olympic 0 VOC paint line. I was really happy with the coverage and lack of head spinning smells!

Day 4- Recycled My Wrapping Paper, Bows, Bags. Yes, I was that person this year! I was the one saying, "are you going to keep that?" "Could I maybe have that bow back?" Yes, I know, embarrassing, BUT I saved resources and money! I have a container that I keep all my stuff in and organized and put those away for next year!

Day 5- Didn't use the dryer! To be honest, this was in large part to the fact that our dryer was out of commission for a few days, BUT I did laundry anyways and air dried it! Here's what I learned from that, it's really easy and actually saves a lot of energy. The only thing I wouldn't air dry now unless it's summer are towels. But, everything else dried great hanging on chairs, doors and racks! I'm going to keep doing it! (I apologize if you come over and my underwear is hanging up all over the house:))

Day 6- Planned out my errands. I thought about what I needed to get done this week and planned ahead. Chose to run the errands on the days I was already going to be out and figured out how I could do what I needed to do in those areas. Not only do I feel that I saved on gas this week, but I only took my car out twice this week! Saved the earth while saving money, LOVE IT!

Day 7- Bought an energy efficient shower head. Our shower head didn't even put out enough water to wash my hair, so it was time for a new one! (which reminds me, you should be washing your shower head every so often with vinegar and water to prevent mineral and grime build up) There are tons of water efficient options. My shower head has a "pause" option. This allows me to pause the shower while I soap up. It's simple, but does a great job!

Well, I made it, one week done 51 more to go! I honestly thought this was going to be a lot harder than it is. If you are already in the mindset, it's amazing how easy it is to make one small change a day...

365 Days of Sustainable Living

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope you had a WONDERFUL holiday season! I did! We entertained about 90 people in less than two weeks! 3 Christmases and a New Years Party! What a way to break in a new home! I am exhausted but full of love and gratitude for a healthy, happy, loving, supportive family!

So now, on to 2011!! As most of you know by now, I'm starting the biggest challenge of my life! 365 Days of Sustainable Living! This means for the next 365 days I will do ONE thing a day to make my life more sustainable. Some days it might be walking instead of driving, and some days it might be buying an energy efficient water heater. I of course will be sharing this journey with you! I would love your feedback and ideas! Here we go....!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Holidays!

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