Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cap It Off

In August, I started collecting caps for my "Great Aveda Experiment". They claimed on their website they they would happily take rigid plastic caps from soda bottles, water bottles, etc. (Full description: here.)

So I started collecting them. And collecting them. And collecting them. Last week, I finally had the gallon bag filled to the top. (It weighed 768g. The gum package is for scale.)

So I headed off to our local Aveda, Vata Salon, at the Vancouver Mall, in Vancouver, WA. I had to go there anyway. Two birds with one stone and all that.

I really wasn't sure what would happen. I had tried to call ahead to see if they participated in the program, but all I got was an answering machine. I was prepared to be laughed out of the store.

When I asked the man (with the perfectly spiked hair) if they participated in the Aveda Recycle Caps program. He said, "Oh yes, of course! People drop things off all the time." So I handed over my gallon bag of caps and exited the store. I checked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't just dumping my bag in to the trash, but he was working away at the computer.

So, will I continue to collect tops? Hell yeah. That was easy!

Note to Aveda: if I had earned some sort of coupon or % off for bringing in tops, I would have lingered a bit in the store, instead of booking out of there. Just saying.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If You Can't See It You Won't Wear It

A few months ago, I decided to tackle my closest. While it was certainly organized, it wasn't yet super-organized. So I did a little experiment to see how truly anal I am. First, I started with my shoes. I went through all the pairs. Decided which should stay, which should go, and then snapped a pic, printed it out, and slapped it on the box. The result:

Then I went through my clothes, weeded out things I never wear, and thought it would be a kick to hang everything by color! I'd only done this once before, when I was killing time waiting for my boyfriend to arrive from the airport.

So, I figured, I'd give it another go.

I know it seems crazy, but it's actually been a great way to have my clothes organized. I can see them better, and I'm more likely to wear some color, and not just black, black, black.

No, I won't come over and do your closet. I'm still worn out from doing mine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Go, but Go Loco

The commute. Something I have been able to avoid for years, but with my new job search going on, something I will probably be facing very soon. While I'd love to be able to walk or bus to work, it probably just isn't gonna happen. Enter Goloco.

The brainchild of Robin Chase, founder of ZipCar, Goloco is like carpooling on steroids. You can use it for daily office commutes, finding out what your friends are up to, and hopping a ride to the nearest big city. It's free and it's adorable and I plan on using it once I know exactly where I will be heading each morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Play's The Thing

For the last few years, Martin and I have been enjoying free Shakespeare performances put on by the Portland (Oregon) Actors Ensemble. They perform outdoors, in various parks around the city.

A few weeks ago, we watched a truly creepy (in a good way!) performance of King Lear. It was performed in Cathedral Park, under the St. John's Bridge.

They have more performances coming up, and we highly suggest you grab a picnic, some chairs, and a blanket and join us for one of Portland's most wonderful summer traditions!

Don't live near Portland, Oregon? Go to Play Shakespeare and look through the links for your country and town. You are sure to find something close by! Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speak Up For What You Want: Part 2

I recently contacted various magazine companies asking them to consider using recycled paper and these are the responses I got:

I'm not surprised with their responses, and I truly appreciate that they responded. What I'd really love to see, is a price quote for using virgin paper vs. recycled paper. Not that the magazines have to prove anything to me, I'm just truly fascinated and perplexed.

Body + Soul, Fast Company, Shape, Ready Made, Ms. Magazine, and others can swing it, why not Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine?

I consider Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine vital resources for learning about cutting edge businesses, and strategies for tackling business issues, how can it be that they can't tackle this one?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Speak Up For What You Want: Part 1

I was watching PBS recently (we don't have cable, so I tend to watch PBS a lot!) and saw a documentary about faith and environmentalism. One of the snippets involved an activist group that was trying to get major magazines (National Geographic, The New Yorker, etc.) to switch from using virgin trees, to using recycled paper. This idea intrigued me, and I've been checking every magazine I see now for either the FSC Recycled logo

Or a note on the title page inside stating that the magazine is printed on recycled paper (any % will do).

Of the 4 I subscribe to, only 1, Fast Company, uses 100% recycled paper. If any magazine thinks that using recycled paper will take away the quality and luster of their magazine, all they need to do is pick up a copy of Fast Company. It has a great look, and a lovely feel. (Plus, great articles!)

So, I decided to get vocal. Rather than just sending an email that will only be viewed by one or two people, I decided to also ask the magazine companies, via Twitter, if they would consider switching to recycled paper.

So, I tweeted to:

USAA (It's the magazine sent out by the banking/insurance company) @usaa_news
Entrepreneur Magazine, @EntMagazineAmy, entmag@entrepreneur.com
Inc., @IncMagazine, mail@inc.com

My next post will show the results.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Feel Good About Ditching Your Old Phone

The new iPhone 3GS release date was announced today, and Twitter is ablaze with people lusting after it. While I don't understand the need to have the newest shiny object out there, I'm not here to judge (well, not today anyway).

I'm here to inspire you to recycle your old phone, rather than just letting it gather dust.

5 Ways To Sell/Recycle Your Old Phone:

Send any brand of phone to Apple for free recycling (they also take iPods).

Sell your old/broken phone (plus other electronics) to BuyMyTronics.com.

Donate/recycle it with ExPhone.

Sell your phone to GreenPhone and they will also plant a tree.

Or, pop your Zip Code and "Cell phone" into the handy search function at Earth911.com and find a place nearby where you can drop off your phone.

Don't forget to recycle the original packaging that came with the old phone.

Enjoy the new one until the next model comes along, then repeat.

Image courtesy of William Hook and used under the Creative Commons License

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Ok To Skim

I've been reading lots of books about food in the United States and I thought I'd give you a whiz-bang snippet of what I've read.

What To Eat, Marion Nestle

Granted, I read this book about 2 years ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy. What I do recall: its an enormous book (the hardcover is 9.3 x 6.4 x 2) and she methodically tells you what to eat and why. (I took lots of notes.) Highly recommended, but I suggest you pace yourself.

Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, Morgan Spurlock
I figured there was nothing left to talk about after the movie, Supersize Me, came out, but I was wrong. Although I heavily skimmed this book, he did have some neat things to say. Including giving props to an elementary school in Olympia, WA that grows their own food. When I told my teenage niece about the mention (she lives in Olympia), she scoffed. "Oh yeah. That school. Mine didn't do that." The main points of Spurlock's book were that schools in the United States serve crap to our kids, and that fast food joints sell more chemicals than food.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan

Another big book, but definitely worth reading. I learned a lot about farming correctly, and how the United States "demands" farmers grow too much corn, and then invents things to use up the supply (e.g. high fructose corn syrup, feed it to cows, make ethanol). Some of his stories got a little long winded, but that is what skimming is for.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is one of my Mom's heroes. I once had to take a picture of my Mom standing behind Jane Goodall, because my Mom did not want to bother Jane by asking if she would pose for a picture. (We were at a book signing.)

I abandoned the book after 5 pages. After reading Pollan it felt like I was reading a book written for first graders. Back in to the library bag it went.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver
Far and away the most beautifully written, almost lyrical of the bunch. Never lecturing, but certainly skewering things, such as being vegetarian because you don't want "animals to suffer". Normally, I hate, hate, hate, it when recipes are added to novels, but the authors did a great job of adding them more as side notes, then as text. (And I found myself scrambling for pen and paper to remind myself to jot them down later.) I did skim (I always do) but it is truly a beautiful book. Highly recommended.

I suggest you read, in this order: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, What To Eat, and then The Omnivore's Dilemma (assuming you've made it through the first two).

Or, you can just sit at your local farmer's market and let your eyes and nose tell you what you should be eating.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Make A Memory

At 18, I got a tattoo. After picking the design and location of my choice, I got on to the chair. My friends waited on the other side of the curtain and the whirring of the needle began. I knew that everyone would ask me if it hurt, so as he applied the ink, I created a mental image in my head. One that I would remember forever. One of a sewing machine, with my hand going back and forth underneath its needle.
(Yes, that is what it feels like.)

A few months ago, my big toenail fell off. Well, it didn't really fall off, so much as it peeled away from it's lower layer revealing pink skin beneath. According to the Internet, this sort of thing happens when there is an infection. I thought back and realized that I had recently gotten a pedicure with a friend. The place had always given me pause. They re-use their gloves, there is no sterlizing machine within sight--all bad signs--but my friend had been going there for years without incident, and I, not having seen her in a long time, wanted so badly just to be with her, that I went along. So now, as I watch my toenail slowly grow back in, I imprint this lesson in my mind.

I recently spent some time with my 14 year old niece and told her both stories. The tattoo story didn't faze her (her mom has many of them) but the toenail story had her asking all sorts of questions on how to find a good, clean salon.

But the best part of all, was when I told her the second part of the tattoo story. How after getting the tattoo, I hid it from my parents for years, hiding it under clothing, and constantly having dreams that I had been exposed. When I finally got up the courage and told my Mom, my anti-tattoo, Mom, she had said:

"Oh, that's pretty. I've been thinking it would be nice to get one on my ankle."

So now, I have a new memory. A memory of walking around Capital Lake in Olympia, WA with my 14 year old niece laughing our asses off at the silliness of assuming you know everything about a person.