First blog post

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

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Greening the Mainstream

I will say that we have come a long way in knowledge of the environment and the overuse of chemicals, but organic natural products and services are still on the fringe and more expensive. There are people who say that celebrities who now are talking about the environment are not helping.

I say that the more people who speak out about reuse, reduce, refuse and recycle the better. I don’t care who makes it “popular” as long as it works. If there are people who use their status to talk about issues, start companies or products, GREAT! The more mainstream it becomes the less expensive it will be and be more available to the masses.

I can now go into Target, Ulta Beauty and CVS and buy organic beauty products. I don’t have to go to Whole Foods to find those items anymore and this is a good thing. I still have to do internet searches for things like cotton produce bags because the ones that I can find locally are made out of  petroleum based fabric( really doesn’t seem right). I would like to see more publications like Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, Family Circle etc review natural products in a big way so regular consumers have knowledge to make choices. I have the EWG app on my phone and use it all the time. All you have to do is scan the bar code on a product (food or cosmetic) and if it is in their database it will give you a breakdown of the ingredients and any issues with them. I thought I had a great shampoo and then I scanned it and put it back on the shelf. This is why knowledge is power and just looking at the packaging can be misleading. “Natural” means nothing, organic is only good if it has a USDA seal or other designation for cosmetics.

Organic food is becoming more mainstream in regular supermarkets and the variety is much better now than even a few years ago. It is still more expensive but I believe the cost will go down as more people buy organics and the big companies figure it out. When I was growing up very few people had food allergies and I do not believe that all of a sudden people are allergic to the food as much as all the chemicals used to produce them. Insecticides, fertilizers and general farming practices have changed so people’s reactions to them are different.

The cosmetic industry is huge and there are organic and natural products out on the shelves. I use many different brands and when you think about the amount of product you put on your skin on a daily basis it should make you think. You don’t have to go all natural and use no make-up, just make a concerted effort to research what you use. Your skin is the largest organ in your body so you need to treat it carefully.

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Cleaning products are another way to go green, yes you can make your own and there are times I do just that but there are companies out there that make safe products that do the job, because lets face it we don’t all have the time or energy to make our own. My husband suffers from asthma and since I have started using natural organic cleaning products he has been breathing better, not a cure but every little bit helps.

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So if we keep buying these types of products and convincing our friends and families to do the same the better for all of us, so if some celebrity wants to go on about it and make their “discovery” that we have known for years, who cares it will help us all.

Living everyday to me means taking no more from the Earth than I give back. I am not perfect and am not living a totally organic, zero waste lifestyle, but I am trying and make improvements all the time

Posted in celebrity endorsements, environment, everyday life, habits, health and beauty, natural products, plastic free, recycle, skin care, Target, Uncategorized, Zero Waste | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s all about the list… end of 4 weeks

I went into this 4 week experiment with no preconceived notions of the outcome. I was not disappointed. I wanted to evaluate my free time, money spent and priorities and I have done just that.

First, let me tell you that weeks 2 and 3 were the hardest. I started to run out of things that I would have just picked up on auto pilot and then was forced to find something to use in its place or reconsider the need for it at all. I did find that I had items in my closet that I had forgotten about and am still using so I didn’t deprive myself at all. I found out that although I had other brands of face serum (samples) to use I will stick with my favorite. This also taught me that while I enjoy my subscription services of health and beauty aids and make-up I always go back to my favorites. So after this months delivery I will cancel my subscriptions ; I do believe they are a good idea and I have enjoyed finding new products that I still use.

I have talked about making a list of wants vs need and this is so very important and an integral  part of the process. It really makes you think about yourself, your habits and your ability to wait for things. The following is a list of questions to ask yourself about EVERY item on the list.

  1. Do I already have this item?
  2. If so is it worn out?
  3. Can I buy it used?
  4. Can it be repaired?
  5. Can it be rented or shared?
  6. Is it something that is needed tomorrow?
  7. How much are you willing to spend?
  8. Would you still buy it if you had to wait a month to get it?
  9. What will it add to your life(ease, beauty etc)
  10. Are you willing to save money to get the best of the item?

This list needs to be written up before you go into a store so you are not tempted to just buy for the sake of buying. We are used to immediate gratification even if it means getting something cheap. Shopping makes people feel better when they are feeling down, lonely, angry or happy. Why are our feelings so tied up in what should be a necessity not a hobby or our family and friends? We are all bombarded with ads and sales on a daily basis and advertisers spend a lot of money convincing us that their product is the best. I have found that the best product is not always advertised the loudest. I would love to have a Coach handbag, all leather and timeless design and you really do not see or hear them advertised very much. They are advertised very low-key in expensive media etc. Kids are very susceptible to what their friends have, what is the next big thing and the ones that I know have become very casual ‚ about the cost of these items and the life span of them. I know electronics have a short life span because of technology always upgrading but when presented with the bill themselves it is amazing how long they will keep them. My kids are 28 and 32 and yes I made them wait until they were 18 years old before I got them cell phones, yes I was that mom, but by then they could make an informed decision about what to choose and to take care of it. My kids have always saved money to buy things that we would not just go out and buy and at times they found that they changed their minds about it before the time came, but if they finally purchased it, they were very proud of it and took care of it.

This four weeks has taught me the following things about myself:

  1. I am willing to make do until I find exactly what I want.
  2. The things I NEED are relatively small
  3. The items that I want are big, expensive and for the house and family
  4. I really don’t need as much as I thought
  5. I have a wonderful life, home and family
  6. My need list is shorter than my want list

I would be interested in hearing from all of you about your lists and remember to make them fluid, life changes, you can’t be too rigid. I am living everyday thankful for all that I have.

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Posted in everyday life, habits, health and beauty, lists, needs, shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Farewell to summer?

We have had some beautiful early fall days, with cool nights which have been great for sleeping, unless of course you are my husband who thinks I am more than a little strange because I want the windows open. They will be closed soon enough when the heat gets turned on, why rush it.

I like to ease into the seasons, like a new mother slowly getting into her pre-pregnancy jeans. The days are still sunny and in the 70’s maybe 60’s so we are still enjoying being outside even though our activities have changed while there. The leaves have barely begun to change for Pete’s sake no reason to close everything up and admit defeat.

My daughter is the type of person that absolutely loves fall. She doesn’t like the intense heat and humidity and since she does a good deal of her work outside this time of year is much more to her liking. Walking the dog is more pleasant, working in my garden is lovely, while I am getting it put to bed for the winter I am still not sweating and can still revel in the beauty.

I will admit to putting my summer clothes away, even if I did keep out a few short sleeve t-shirts for just in case days and working out. This always gives me the chance to purge my wardrobe and be truly honest with what I can get rid of and what mistakes were made and there were mistakes!

I had an appointment with my plumber this morning to go over the furnace and to flush our tankless hot water heater. Needless to say he did not show up so another call was made for a different day. He is almost on the 3 strike rule. There are not a lot of plumbers that deal with my hot water tank so I need him to come as he was the one that installed it, although I will be looking up others who are certified to service it. I have used this guy since moving to this town 35 years ago when he was just starting out and now he is bigger and too busy for small accounts. I digress.

Maybe because I have lived in New England my entire life, but turning on the heat before at least the middle of October if not Halloween goes against every fiber of my being. My mother used to say if we were cold go put some more clothes on, don’t touch the thermostat. I lived in a very drafty farmhouse that had a wind chill factor in most rooms so I think I am living in luxury now as I only feel breezes outside! I put in programmable thermostats a few years ago and I may need to replace a couple as the programming looks like it was put in by Sheldon Cooper. They are great though and I keep my house at 68 degrees when we are at home and awake and 58 degrees when we are asleep. You may wake up with a cold nose but you sleep soundly and can always add another blanket(my husband will disagree).

So right now I am enjoying this beautiful weather with it’s deep blue skies and eventually the fall colors and thankful that I live in New England where there are distinct seasons. So do you like this season?

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The picture above is from The Tower Hill Botanical Garden, it is entitled “the Wild Rumpus”. Has nothing to do with fall but I love it and wanted to share.

 

Posted in everyday life, Fall, gardening, New England, seasons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Want vs Need, weeks 2 & 3

Now that I am just about finished with the 3rd week of my no shopping experiment, I have some observations to share.

Supermarkets have a lot more than just food

Drugstores should change their name to “A little bit of everything store”

When you can’t have something, it makes you think about it…a lot!

You really are not aware of all that you have

I decided to use my extra time making lists of what I need and what I want, now this is a little sobering as I realized that I do not really NEED all that much. I have a nice home, food on the table, bills paid, 2 cars, we are both employed and healthy. With all the disasters around lately it is hard not to feel guilty for what I do have and seems greedy to want more. I did take on this month with a goal in mind but it has morphed into something totally different. It is hard to believe the money that is spent on stuff that really no one needs, but these type of things are all around you in even supermarkets. It used to be that you bought food, paper goods and cleaning supplies when you went into a supermarket, now you can get patio furniture, decorative, seasonal items, serving pieces, books, office supplies, kitchen ware and the list goes on. One stop shopping has become the norm and people are mindlessly buying things because they are there! Hey, I am a retailer I know all about strategies to induce people to buy as well as impulse items, people will say that it is the retail store who is at fault, but take a step back and consider your purchases, a lot of them are not thought out. We work hard for our money should we think hard before spending it.

Back to my lists. I thought very hard about what I needed and it is a much smaller list than the want list. Of course, things I may need are different than you, but by making the lists I really ended up taking stock of my life, hobbies, and what I considered important and it has been an eye opener. Most of my needs were clothes, because I really haven’t purchased any except for special occasions in a few years. I work 3 days a week in a uniform so I do not need the same type of clothes are those who work in an office, but new snow boots(current are leaking and 5 years old), new jeans( only 1 pair that I can wear without 3 inch heels, don’t ask), a few long sleeve shirts(all I have are very casual athletic type, need to be an adult). I need new pot holders(having trouble fining the color an exact type I want so they are falling apart), couch cover(my dog sheds a lot!!), my facial serum(using up a sample of one and I really don’t like it). So it is a pretty simple basic list, some of you may think that these are not important, but your lists are probably different from mine in other ways.

My want list is very different, these are things that I would really enjoy having and would make my life more enjoyable but they are not things I have to have to live. I can do with what I have, but that does not mean I will not eventually get them. I know have a clear idea of what they are and will save up and get them, maybe. My need list will be met first and the want list is fluid it might and most probably will change as I have noticed it already has. Just like life it ebbs and flows, so my little journal is keeping track for me of sizes, colors and numbers and I will keep it in my purse so when I do enter into a store again I will be armed with all the information I need instead of blindly purchasing things. I hope this will make me more thoughtful and not settle for something that will work but not what I really want. I am at a stage in my life where I can wait for the perfect item to fulfill a want because I am doing fine without it now.

My food bill has gone down in these past weeks because I was more mindful of what I had, planned meals and planned what to do with leftovers as well. I also didn’t pick up stuff that wasn’t food, paper goods, or cleaners and even then I really had enough of the later so I was using things up. I found that in the past I have mindlessly purchased things like paper towels or soap for example because I thought I was running out when in fact I had plenty. This has helped me take stock, be more organized and be more resourceful.

I did think about shopping quite a bit but it turned out that I ended up thinking more about my life and how grateful I am to live the way I do and what I need vs what I want.

I am living everyday on my terms(mostly) and now being more thankful. Try this experiment, who knows it could change your whole outlook on your life, it did to me.

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Posted in everyday life, habits, health and beauty, lists, needs, organizing, planning, shopping, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s All or Nothing

This is the type of attitude that puts people off. I have been reading a lot about minimalism, zero waste, environmental issues and going plastic free. There are so many good blogs and ideas around, but there are too many people touting the idea that if you can’t go all in, don’t bother. This is the type of attitude that makes people think that no matter what they do they cannot affect change!

I like the ideas behind minimalism but cannot and do not want to adopt the whole concept, I only sip the kool-aid not guzzle it. I am trying to be more thoughtful in the items I bring into my life so that I am not owned by my possessions but I am not totally willing to dispose of my beautiful things that I use only on occasion. These are a part of my life I am not going to give up. I am always working on getting rid of clutter and have made great strides. I bought the book “The Konmari Method”, read it through took some suggestions and then sold it at a yard sale! Ironic, but hey, it was clutter! I am having a tougher time with items that are sentimental in nature but they too will go away soon. I do not live by myself or in a vacuum so being a total minimalist is not going to happen, that being said I can be a sort of minimalist. I am okay with it.

The folks that want you to go plastic free can be really strident. They will say that even if you are recycling it is just as bad because plastic has a short life to be recycled. I have cut my plastic usage in half over the past year, but I am not going to just toss things that are usable. I wait until they are beyond any use for me and then I recycle them and if they need to be replaced then I do so with a glass alternative. This is being responsible. It is very hard to find many beauty or healthcare item that is not packaged in plastic and I am not about to do without those items, believe me you wouldn’t want me to either! I always look for less packaging and recycle what I can, but I don’t want to be told that I am just lying to myself about doing what I can. This kind of extremism doesn’t help anyone. We should be encouraging people to do as much as they can not discouraging people who are trying.

The zero waste movement has interested me but the more I look into it the more I realize how difficult it can be. Now I am not saying that if it is difficult you shouldn’t try but we do not all live near  markets where you can bring your own containers to buy in bulk or even afford it. Cutting back on waste is paramount but zero waste is unrealistic for most, that being said you should strive for it but not be criticized for not reaching zero. Come on people this is not helping the Earth or ourselves.

I urge people to look up the website http://www.recyclebank.com they have great info and graphics on doing something as small as turning the water off when you brush your teeth will affect water supplies.I am not telling people that they should not strive to do better but this all or nothing mentality is only hurting the efforts to save the planet. Whatever you can do should be celebrated.

Remember living everyday shouldn’t take an undo toll or stress this big blue marble we all share, so arm your self with info, reusable shopping bags and your glass containers and spread the word that doing even the small stuff makes a difference.

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Posted in environment, everyday life, habits, health and beauty, minimalism, plastic free, purging, recycle, Uncategorized, water, Zero Waste | Tagged | 1 Comment

Week one

I had to start my first week of a month without, a day early because I did not have use of my car so I had to go do my weekly food shopping a day early. (hate food shopping on a Sunday) I made a list after a good look at my freezer, fridge and pantry; planned meals as well as meals that were created by the leftovers of others. This does not apply to all but since it is just the two of us, we frequently have leftovers and I can get another meal out of them in a different form or send it with my husband for lunch if it doesn’t quite work for a full meal. He is great about eating leftovers. I actually know people who will throw them out, what a waste.

I realized that I was low on conditioner (my conditioner always runs out before my shampoo), but looking into it I realized that I have 2 different bottles that were low so really no reason to buy more. I also belong to a couple of subscription services which send me samples to try and I have travel sizes (let’s face it I am not doing that much overnight traveling) so I should be set for the month if not longer. I plan on using most of my samples of other supplies too, Monday or Friday could become a spa day, nice tradition!?

I had to pick up a prescription which can be a minefield for me as my neighborhood CVS is a place that I have been known to wander and pick up things because I think I need them. I got through that trip unscathed.

Things I have noticed this past week:

  • the amount of ads and coupons that are sent directly to your home are incredible
  • I need to clean up my email because the ads there are even worse
  • it is a good idea to make a list of wants vs needs to keep you honest
  • since I am not out in the stores I am getting more reading done

I don’t know what the next week will bring but it is yard sale season around here and while I don’t make a habit of going to them they now catch my eye. I do like to upcycle and redo furniture etc. but there are my favorite thrift stores to look at when this experiment is over.

I hope this will teach me something about myself and how to set priorities so here’s to another week of living everyday.

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A month without…

I am starting an experiment on September 11, 2017. With the exception of food I am going to try to go a month without shopping for anything. I will do my weekly food shopping and medical prescriptions only, I will not be shopping. I am doing this in part to purge and use up items in my home that I didn’t even know I had also because when I think about all the people living with less or trying to get by after natural disasters I am humbled. I am not trying to be holier than thou but I want to become a more conscious consumer. I have reached a point in my life where I have everything I need but also want nicer things. I can stop buying the cheapest because that is all I can afford(this is false economy anyway) so when I replace something because it is worn out or depleted I can buy I nicer version if needed. I am not going off grid and stop being a consumer ( I am a retailer after all) but now I want to put more thought into my purchases.  Shopping should not be a hobby!

This month will be a chance for me to really take inventory of what I have, what I can do without and what I can give away. I have been making do for most of my life so now I am going to do it for a month in earnest.

You may be wondering why I didn’t start at the first of the month, well this month is filled with birthdays and this is my experiment not that of family members. September 11th was symbolic for me because so many lost everything on that day and would give everything they have to have their lives back, their loved ones back and for that I think I can take an honest look at all that I have and be grateful.

So I will be going food shopping on that day with the mindset of buying only what we need, no extras. This will require me to carry a list, something I hardly ever do. I will need to clean out my fridge and make sure I do not re-buy what is already there, use up so there is no waste and be more thoughtful. I tend to go on automatic pilot when food shopping and I end up wasting things. I am getting better but, this month will be a true test.

I will be making use of my library, no new book purchases ( tough one as there is always something new for me to read), I have enough personal care, make-up products to last me quite awhile, will be separating plants in my garden, have things to start and finish projects so I really have no reason to go buy anything. I do have gift certificates but I won’t be using those either, that would defeat the process. This will help my bank account also. Now I don’t want you to think that I go shopping on a daily basis but I do pick up little extras now and again and it adds up.

Being a consumer should not be the only thing I am or the only thing I do. I have hobbies, I love to read, garden, do puzzles, am a good conversationalist etc. This should not define me as a person. I will try to keep you posted on my progress weekly. I would love to hear from you if you have tried this or if you want to join me.

Remember to live everyday by being present in your life and your family and friends lives, try to surround yourself with what is important. You may find that what is important cannot be purchased.

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Posted in everyday life, Friends, gardening, habits, purging, resolutions, shopping, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments